Mike's Review of Killer Joe
This is a movie I have been waiting a long while to see and I finally had a chance to see it tonight. When this movie came out in theatres earlier this year it was given a rating of NC-17 due to graphic nudity, sexual situations and graphic violence so it didn't get a big run in the movie houses like regular movies. Base on the play "Killer Joe" this was a movie that pulls no punches, it puts itself out there and never holds back.
The story is quite simple. Chris is in deep with the thugs for money due to bad gambling debts. He and his father come up with a plan to hire Joe to kill his mother so they can collect the insurance money. Chris' family is pure trailer trash and this movie shows them in all their glory. Chris' sister is the sole beneficiary of the policy and all the money will come to her which they will evenly split after Joe takes his cut of the money. By day Joe Cooper is a detective for the police department and by night, a hired killer. There is one problem, they can't pay Joe until the job is completed. Joe doesn't like that idea and decides that he will take Chris' young sister Dottie as a retainer for the money.
The movie straight out is pretty disturbing and kind of makes you feel dirty after watching the movie. It's part thriller, action and dark comedy all rolled in a nice tight package of a movie. I can tell you that this is on my top 10 movies of the year list. It's a well made movie with a great cast and wonderful directing. The story is well played out, though it touches on some very dark subject matter throughout the movie. The ending will have you discussing it long afterwards of what happened and where does it go from there.
Matthew McConaughey is in top for in this movie as Killer Joe Cooper. This is one of his best roles since "The Lincoln Lawyer". He's been having a great run lately with The Lincoln Lawyer, Magic Mike and now this. You really see the sleaziness of Joe with each scene McConaughey is in. Right from the get go you can tell that this is a character you will not like and only bad things are going to happen when he is involved. I've always been a fan of McConaughey and with this film he shows that he can play the dirtiest and filthiest of characters with ease. This was a movie where he threw the screenplay in the trash because he felt like it was just that, trash. After awhile and some convincing he picked it back up again and re-read it with a new outlook. I'm glad he did because he was the perfect choice to play Joe.
Emile Hirsch plays the part of Chris, the brilliant mind behind this whole plan. I've always enjoyed watching Hirsch on screen and in this movie was no exception. He played the part perfectly. He has that naive ambition in his eyes that he can do this and things will be alright once the murder has taken place and that he will make good with his family by this. Chris is a character that really doesn't have the brains to think things through and thinks that he can fix things without worrying about the consequences. Hirsch brings that doe eyed naivety to the role which translates so well on screen. Another great performance from a good actor. I will forgive him though for his role in The Darkest Hour, this movie more than makes up for that.
Thomas Hayden Church plays the father Ansel. This guy is dumber than a bag of hammers and really doesn't have two clues to rub together. He goes along with Chris' plan even though I think somewhere in the deep recesses of his mind that he knows it's a bad idea. Church was always hilarious on the TV series "Wings" and is just as funny here, though in a dark demented way. The character doesn't have too much going on upstairs and this is showned wonderfully on screen by Church. Another great performance.
Juno Temple is Chris's sister Dottie. She is tremendous on screen as the dimwitted sister who falls in love with Joe. Temple has a very tough part to play especially in the date scene with Joe, it's very dark and very emotional and has to go to a very dark place to make the scene believable. A great job on screen and I think she is a great young actress to watch out for.
Gina Gershon plays the step mother Sharla. I think this has to have been one of the toughest roles Gina Gershon had to play. It was a very emotional roller coaster of a role for her and she also had to go to very deep dark places, especially near the end of the movie. She shows on screen that she is a powerful actress and can handle any role with the slightest of ease. I still don't know how she got her self to the stage to do the chicken leg scene at the end. A great performance throughout the movie.
Directed by none other than the director of "The Exorcist":William Friedkin and this movie shows he still has it. It is powerfully directed and wonderfully paced and Friedkin isn't afraid to bring the tough subject matter to the big screen. His scenes are beautifully framed and he really knows how to get the best out of his actors. I'm glad to see him back in the directors chair again.
This movie is a powerhouse of everything that shouldn't be seen. It's filthy, dirty, grimy, gritty and will have you glued to the screen to figure out how everything is going to play out. This movie I must say is not for everyone, especially the squeamish and the easily offended. It is offensive and it isn't ashamed to be. This is a dark story that is well written and beautifully acted and amazingly directed.
I easily give this movie 5 stars out of 5 and one my favorite movies of the year. It's well made and I think shouldn't be missed. It definitely is messed up in more ways than one, but the shock value just isn't there for shock value, it's there as part of the actual story and plays into what makes up this man they call Killer Joe. Till next time my friends.