4 out of 5
Are you tired of Mathew McConaughey flaunting his torso in silly rom-coms? If yes, raise your hand. McConaughey has done quite an impressive portfolio. But people do not remember him because of Contact, Amistadt, A Time To Kill, Bernie, or Lincoln Lawyer. People remember him for Fool’s Gold or The Wedding Planner. Yikes… Thankfully there is also Tropic Thunder and now… Killer Joe.
McConaughey plays Killer Joe, a policeman slash hired killer with crazy eyes who is hired by a dysfunctional trailer trash family. Emile Hirsch plays Chris, a good for nothing white trash who gets caught in debt, the only way out is to convince his equally numbskull father, Ansel (played by Thomas Haden Church) to kill Chris’ mother and collect the insurance money. The problem is they both do not have money to pay Killer Joe’s fee until the insurance money is received, so Killer Joe decides to take collateral in the shape of Dottie, Chris’ younger sister (played brilliantly by British actress Juno Temple). Dottie who appears like a whimsical airhead turns out to have wisdom of her own. And there is the trashy Sharla, Ansel’s current wife who is also full of surprises.
It sounds like a common trailer trash dark comedy. But in the hands of William Friedkin, the director of Exorcist, this Pulitzer winning play by Tracy Letts becomes something else. Sometimes you don’t need that much violence to know something is sick and twisted, a fried chicken leg is enough. Plus, you might not see McConaughey’s infamous torso in this film. But there is always his backside.