Film: Killer Joe (2011)
Cast includes: Matthew McConaughey (The Lincoln Lawyer), Emile Hirsch (Milk), Juno Temple (The Dark Knight Rises), Thomas Haden Church (Sideways), Gina Gershon (The Insider)
Director: William Friedkin (The Exorcist, Bug), Writer: Tracy Letts (Bug)
Genre: Dark Comedy | Thriller | Crime | Film Noir (103 minutes)
“Open the Goddamn door,” screams Chris. When Sharla finally does open the door, she’s wearing nothing but a short T-shirt. “Put some clothes on for fuck sake.” “Nothing you haven’t seen before,” says Sharla. “Me and every other guy in town…. I need to talk to Dad.” When Ansel finally appears, Chris has to talk outside. This isn’t for his stepmom or sister to hear. Chris is desperate for $6,000, but Ansel wouldn’t have that kind of money. Chris figured as much… that’s why he has a plan B. “Have you ever heard of Joe Cooper?” He’s a cop and a hired killer. “Mom’s got a $50,000 life insurance policy and the beneficiary is Dottie. They can split the money 4 ways. Ansel’s not sure. “Is anyone going to care if Mom’s not around?” “Rex might.” (Rex is Mom’s boyfriend. Dottie, by the way, is Chris’s sister and Ansel’s daughter.) “You have to think about what’s best for Dottie,” says Chris.” “I see your point,” says Ansel. When the topic changes to Dottie, Ansel says, “I think she’s still a… you know…” “A virgin,” Chris completes the thought.
Dottie looks much more mature than her 12 years. And when Joe Cooper comes to the trailer to meet with the boys, it’s Dottie he sees, practicing karate in front of the TV. Joe’s a classy piece of work… dressed all in black, fancy boots, fancy hat…. In his silky smooth voice, he tells Dottie that he’s here to meet with Chris and Ansel. “They’re never home on time,” she says. “Could I trouble you for a cup of coffee?” When Dottie learns that Joe’s in the Dallas Police Department, she’s full of questions. “Ever shot anybody? …who?” “Nobody you know.” “Did any of them die?” “Some of them.” “Cool.” Eventually, Dottie asks, “Are you gonna kill my momma?” When Joe finally discusses the job with the boys, there’s the issue of $25,000 in advance. Looks like the deal’s off… until Joe remembers Dottie and suggests a “retainer”… meaning Dottie. “We don’t want to do it, but it’s gotta be done.”
Of course, nothing goes as planned. Between Chris’s pension for trouble, Sharla’s cheating, and Ansel’s sheer stupidity, a few critical parts of the plan go off the rails. And then there’s Dottie… she’s not sure what to make of Joe… “Your eyes hurt.” This is an intensely dark comedy. If you’re not a fan of nasty, irreverent, violent humor… take my word for it… you’ll hate this one. But if you’re a film noir fan, you’ll find lots here to tickle your dark funny bone. Matthew McConaughey as Joe is mesmerizing. With dark humor, a lot depends on getting the right balance right of humor to darkness. Some moviegoers may feel there’s a bit too much violence. One thing for sure… you’ll never think of chicken legs quite the same way again!
2 popped kernels
If you hire Joe to kill your momma, he drives a hard bargain
Rated: R (Sexual content)
Distribution: Mainstream limited release
Tempo: Cruises comfortably
Visual Style: High-end production
Character Development: Should be better
Language: True to life
Social Significance: Pure entertainment