Wednesday, October 17, 2012

Film Review: John Frankenheimer's Killer Joe

Killer Joe, the latest film from Oscar winning director William Friedkin, is a sadistic, bloody and depraved film - and it may just be the best damn genre movie of the last few years, as well as a film that will most assuredly be included in the eventual best of the year list I will be compiling when such times come around. I suppose what I am trying to say here is that Killer Joe is a killer movie - and one sure to shock and/or piss off a whole lot of unsuspecting Matthew McConaughey rom-com fans, who go into this looking for another Failure to Launch or How To Lose a Guy in 10 Days, or even those hoping for another A Time to Kill or even another Sahara.  Of course one look at the trailer and one should certainly know better.  In fact one look at the trailer and one will surely see a reborn McConaughey.  An actor who has put most of his past mistakes away, and has gone back to the promise we all saw in things like Lone Star and The Newton Boys and Dazed and Confused.  Once one goes beyond the trailer and sees the film itself, one will have no doubt that Matthew McConaughey is indeed, for lack of a better term, back.

This comeback of sorts began last year with the sadly overlooked The Lincoln Lawyer, and continued this year with scene-stealing supporting roles in both Richard Linklater's Bernie and Steven Soderbergh's Magic Mike - the latter of which seeming to have a bit of early Oscar buzz fluttering about.  With juicy looking roles in upcoming films such as Lee Daniels The Paperboy and Jeff Nichols' Mud, this resurgence of quality material does not appear to be coming to an end anytime soon.  But it is here, as the titular rogue cop-cum-hired killer, that McConaughey gets his juiciest, his meatiest, his what-the-fuckiest role - and it is here, in a movie taglined as "A totally twisted deep-fried Texas redneck trailer park murder story," that McConaughey runs away with one of the most batshitcraziest performances in one of the most batshitcraziest films of the year.  Though I do not see what all the fuss is about - neither my mind nor my stomach are turned by such brutality on film - I do see why this film received the dreaded NC-17 rating - especially for those last twenty minutes or so - and much of this has to do with coolly maniacal performance and sudden explosive outbursts of one Mr. Matthew McConaughey.

But, yes Virginia, there is more to this movie than just the aforementioned batshitcraziness of good ole boy McConaughey.  The story, in all its fucked-up glory, adapted incidentally from the hit stage play by Terry Letts, is about a father and son who hire our intrepid anti-hero to whack their mother/ex-wife for the insurance money that will befall little sis.  The only problem our wouldbe killer hirers have is coming up with the money.  Simple solution Joe thinks - just give him baby sis as collateral.  And to add to the fucked-upness of the film, they do just that.  Both Emile Hirsch and Thomas Haden Church are fun as hell as the rather inept father and son duo, and Juno Temple is quite riveting as the virginal seventeenish piece of collateral-cum-ass, but when it comes to that final twenty minutes everyone is up in arms about, it is Gina Gerson, as the step-mom from hell, who gets the brunt of what can only be described as the best and the worst damn fried chicken scene ever put onto film.  'nuff said.  Just see the film and you will know of what I speak - and will you ever.


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