Killer Joe (2011) starring Matthew McConaughey, Emile Hirsch, Juno Temple, Thomas Haden Church directed by William Friedkin Movie Review

Killer Joe (2011)   3/53/53/53/53/5

Matthew McConaughey in Killer Joe (2011)

Hey Joe

Chris (Emile Hirsch) finds himself in trouble when loan sharks are after him and he has no way of raising his cash, not even his father Ansel (Thomas Haden Church) can help him with some money. But then Chris learns from his alcoholic mother's boyfriend that his mum has a life insurance policy which pays out to his little sister Dottie on her death. So Chris with some help from his dad and a cop/ hitman named Joe (Matthew McConaughey) plan to kill his mum to get the money to pay the loan sharks. The trouble is Joe wants money up front and so Chris agrees to him having Dottie as a make way till they get the money. But things don't go as anyone plans.

How to describe "Killer Joe"? Well you could say it was like someone took one of those Ealing comedies from the 60s where a crime doesn't go as plan and gave it a modern, dark, quirky, Fargo-esque make over. But in truth that doesn't do justice to it because that just makes it sound like a quirky black comedy so there is an opening scene which sees Gina Gershon's character answers the door to her trailer wearing just a top with nothing underneath or on the lower half and we see everything as she spends the next few minutes walking around like nothing was wrong. Still not got it, well there is a scene where Chris has a fantasy involving his naked sister Dottie doing kung fu moves so yes we have a strange scene featuring a naked Juno Temple.

Emile Hirsch and Thomas Haden Church in Killer Joe (2011)

So basically "Killer Joe" is a black comedy which takes the black and the quirky to a whole other level and leaves you constantly lifting your jaw up from the floor. It is not just visually which leaves you open mouthed as we have extreme characters expertly played by the likes of McConaughey, Hirsch and Temple as well as dialogue which sets out to provoke a reaction such as learning about a man who set his genitals on fire.

But here is the thing about "Killer Joe" it is a brilliantly made movie which achieves what it sets out to do and provoke the audience with plenty of shocks. But strip out the shocks, the quirkier than quirky characters, the twisted dialogue and scenes of nudity and you wonder whether "Killer Joe" is actually that good. Yes it leaves you wondering what the heck afterwards but that is more about the series of shocks rather than the movie itself.

What this all boils down to is that "Killer Joe" is an experience, an expertly made movie which achieves what it sets out to do and leave you shocked by the twists, quirks and nudity whilst never letting up so you can’t take your eyes off of it. But the minute you start thinking beyond the dark humour you find yourself asking WTF!