Killer Joe Review
Hungry for Some K Fried C
In the middle of a rain soaked night Chris (Emile Hirsch) bangs on the door to his father’s trailer. A chained up dog is barking relentlessly. Eventually he’s met with an unpleasant surprise (for some) his stepmother Sharla, played by Gina Gershon. Sharla isn’t too fond of Chris and lets it be known early and often. He has to talk to his father Ansel (Thomas Haden Church) alone so they go to the classiest strip club in Texas. Well, classiest that someone of these guy’s caliber can afford. Chris tells his dad that he’s in trouble, he owes some drug dealers six thousand dollars and asks for his help. When his dad tells him he has no money to give him he brings up plan B.
Chris heard through the grapevine that his mother has a fifty thousand dollar life insurance policy. He also heard about a man named Killer Joe, police detective by day and contract killer by night. Plan B is to hire Killer Joe to murder Chris’ mother. His father agrees to the idea because, well, Ansel isn’t such a bright guy, but brains are hard to come by in this movie.
Now Joe (Matthew McConaughey) on the other hand is a smart guy. He’s a darkly draped cowboy very sly, disciplined and calculating. There are no exceptions to his rules. When Chris cannot pay Joe his upfront fee Joe calls an end to their brief meeting. However, earlier in the day Joe had met Chris’ sister Dottie and became quite captivated by her. Dottie is played by Juno Temple, a woman I would sell my liver just to have a cup of tea with, so it’s no surprise when Joe brings up the possibility of a “retainer.”
If this all sounds like a terrible episode of Jerry Springer you might be close, but Killer Joe is actually a delightful film. It has a very dark satiric undercurrent. It’s unforgiving with it’s violence and characters. The cast is exquisitely acted, you’ll forget most of them aren’t actually white trash. The story is quite good, a pleasant surprise actually. It would not be too bold to say this is almost like the Texas version of Oldboy. Killer Joe is wholly unique and a joy to watch but not for the faint of heart.