MOVIE REVIEW: KILLER JOE (2012)

Running time: 1 hour, 42 minutes
Cast: Matthew McConaughey, Emile Hirsch, Juno Temple, Gina Gershon, Thomas Haden Church
Director: William Friedkin

Summary time: Chris Smith (Hirsch), a drug dealing loser, is in serious debt and finds out his mother Adele has an insurance policy worth $50,000. He hires a hitman named Joe Cooper (McConaughey) to kill her, and the money will go to his sister Dottie (Temple) who will then share it with the family. Chris doesn’t have the money to pay Joe’s fee, and Joe decides to take Dottie as collateral.

This is a trashy mess and I loved every second of it. In fact, there’s some other words I can use to describe this movie so please read along.

Killer Joe poster

Trashy and pitiful

Chris is lazy and a bit slow. He deals drugs, but he doesn’t protect his inventory and as a result his drugs are stolen. Panicked, he storms through the dingy trailer where he lives with his family. His father Ansel (Church) is a spineless coward who demands respect but never receives it from his wife or his children. Chris’ sister Dottie is a pretty young woman, but she is very childlike and lounges around the trailer all day. There’s a serious lack of ambition in this family, and it turns into a disaster when they all meet Joe.

Trashy and sexy

Joe wears a uniform: cowboy hat, sunglasses, and tight jeans. He’s actually a police detective who moonlights as a hitman. McConaughey sizzles in this movie. He’s sexier than a country fried steak smothered in gravy.

When Chris and Ansel approach him with their idea to kill Adele, he sizes them up and decides to investigate. He does what any smart person does, which is make sure Dottie is the true beneficary on Adele’s policy, and make sure all of the people involved aren’t into some shady shit.

Joe starts following Sharla (Gershon), Ansel’s wife and Chris’ stepmom. She’s sexy too, and she’s also a known cheater, but Ansel is so lonely and desperate he’ll take what he can get.

Trashy and innocent

Before you hire a contract killer, you might want to gather the money to pay his fee. Chris doesn’t get this far when he starts planning Adele’s murder, and he agrees to hand over his sister Dottie as collateral aka sex object. This is when the movie turns creepy, especially when Chris seems to get jealous…I’ll let you think about that.

Trashy and violent and uncomfortable

Sharla has a couple secrets that she’s hiding from the Smith family, but as I mentioned earlier, Joe is easily the smartest guy in the movie and he uncovers Sharla’s shenanigans.

The most talked about scene of this movie happens in the kitchen, where Joe confronts Sharla in front of Ansel. Joe tears her down emotionally and physically, and I’ll admit that I cringed a few times. Then he humiliates her with a chicken wing… and I’m pretty sure I’ll never eat KFC again.

This is a far cry from Magic Mike, but it does show that Matthew McConaughey has incredible range as an actor. I also liked this movie because each actor pulled their weight and delivered some fantastic performances. Killer Joe is well acted and the storyline is engaging, so if you enjoy gritty movies that make you squirm in your seat I think this movie is for you!

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One Comment on “MOVIE REVIEW: KILLER JOE (2012)”

  1. CMrok93 says:

    Good review. McConaughey has never been slimier, Hirsch has never been louder, Haden Church has never been dumber, Temple has never been more innocent, and Gershon has never really shown us ALL of her like we see here. Altogether, they make a pretty out-standing ensemble that makes this film tick a whole lot more than I expected.


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