Killer Joe Director: William Friedkin | Screenwriter: Tracy Letts A garish, Southwestern tale - a violent black comedy about a desperate Texas debtor (Hirsch) who plots to kill his mother with help of his family (Haden Church, Gershon). They hire a crazy Dallas cop who moonlights as a contract killer (McConaughey) to do the job, but Killer Joe asks for their teenage daughter (Temple) as a retainer. The film is based on Pulitzer Prize winner Tracy Letts' (August: Osage County) award winning play. Cast: Matthew McConaughey, Emile Hirsch, Gina Gershon, Juno Temple, Thomas Haden Church (U.S. Premiere)
Film Synopsis (from SXSW.com)
WHO'S IT FOR? It's dark, uncomfortably sexual, intensely violent and definately worth your time (unless this sentence scares you away).
When at a film festival you'll constantly hear the question, "What have you liked so far?" Sometimes that is easy to answer. I'll put a smile on my face, and answer Safety Not Guaranteed which has a wonderful, charming heart. Killer Joe makes it tough to say that I liked it. It will easily remain one of the most memorable experiences I have had at SXSW this year.
Trailer trash has never looked better, felt more real, or been more engaging than with Killer Joe. I've been missing a good Hirsch performance, and I got it with this. Somehow he's fourth or fifth on the list of quality acting. I'm stupid enough to think whoever is lucky enough to distribute this film should push for Oscar nominations from some of the cast. Thomas Haden Church is amazing as a simpleton with awful facial hair. Temple is uncomfortably sexy/insane and makes me forget about how much I disliked her in Dirty Girl. Gershon is willing to be so raw that you actually feel sorry for her and impressed in the same breath. McConaughey ... wow. He owns it. This film also owns its very NC-17 rating.
The tone could be best described as the darkest of Coen brothers films, with some Blue Velvet oddity sprinkled in.
What's it about? Money. Family. Maybe not much as all. But the ugly beauty on the screen with sit with me for years. One of the best lines of the year will probably remain, "Do you want me to wear your face?" When I run in to people who have seen Killer Joe I'll be able to say, "chicken scene," and they'll nod. I don't know what to do with Killer Joe. It feels weird to say, "I liked it," but I know deep down, in places that feel uncomfortable, I loved it.
FINAL SCORE: 9/10