The last time playwright Tracy Letts and director William Friedkin got together, it was for the schizo sci-fi Bug (1996). More accessible than that genre-bender is Killer Joe (2012), a slick little shocker that goes OTT with some dark humour, havin been described as Larry Clark doin a Red Rock West (1993) to Coen brothers crime caper with a Pulp Fiction (1994) gloss-over. Having failed the NC-17 appeal, the peculiar trailer they cut hints little towards the violent hicksploitation this is; and the movie may have proved even harder to market without its comfortable star draw. We follow the titular Joe Cooper (Matthew McConaughey), a bent NYPD cop who accepts a contract to kill the estranged, good-for-nothin mother of the dysfunctional Smith family comprisin of deadbeat son Chris (Emile Hirsch), sexpot stepmum Sharla (Gina Gershon), halfwit redneck dad Ansel (Thomas Haden Church) and daughter Dottie (Juno Temple) - the nubile virgin who ends up bein the collateral when the deal goes awry. Everyone is at some point or another either naked, half-naked or bathed in blood. Fire up the chicken and let the good times roll.
At a glance:
|Fried chicken fellatio. Trailer trash strippers. Bloodthirsty biker bailiffs.|
Killer Joe has got 'em all.
Bad news on the doorstep:
|Juno Temple takes it all off for Killer Joe.|
Reminds me of:
Sidney Lumet's Before The Devil Knows You're Dead (2007) and the Coens' Blood Simple (1984). Killer Joe is only the most recent in Friedkin's very varied 16-film oeuvre, which includes films like The Exorcist (1973) and Cruising (1980).
I can't remember if I cried:The fried chicken fellatio. Killer Joe will forever be best remembered for an act of sadistic misogyny so degradin even Gina seen-all done-all Gershon looks genuinely humiliated. Very nice. Charmin McConaughey, the quintessential Texan talent, never acted better accordin to many, but it's also funny to read to that director Billy Friedkin says the man didn't even get it when he first read the script!
Most memorable line:
|Thomas Haden Church: "I've never had a thousand dollars all my life."|
"Totally twisted, deep-fried, Texas redneck, Billy Friedkin-directed, NC-17-rated, trailer park murder story masterpiece" as marketed on its Facebook page. Go check it out - they do have some funny photo mash-ups there.