Tuesday, December 25, 2012

Killer Joe

Killer Joe - No Rating

Directed by: William Friedken

Starring: Matthew Mcconaughy, Emile Hirsch, Gina Gershon, Thomas Haden Church, Juno Temple

Review: Every once in awhile you get a gut-check movie.  One that is hard to sit through and shows how you film can still affect you emotionally in both good ways and bad.  ‘Killer Joe’ is one of those movies and it most definitely not for everybody.

Matthew Mcconaughy gives one of the best performances of the year and possibly his career in a truly twisted and haunting film.  Mcconaughy’s performance as the titular character is one of precise calculation.  After years of being stuck in the “alright, alright” mold McConaughy shows his true ability as an actor here.

Killer Joe is a cop who is clearly psychopathic and less than moral.  As a hired hitman Joe ends up terrorizing a poor Texas family from the inside when they can’t pay the bill that is due.  Most of the action happens off-screen as we don’t see any killing first hand.  The violence is kept to a minimum until it is released with a level of brutality rarely seen in films.

It is to be noted this received an NC-17 rating and absolutely deserved it.  While it’s about any sort of volume of sex or violence, it is about the manner in which it takes place.  Many scenes will be hard to sit through and many probably won’t even make it through the whole movie.  It’s not a movie that’s meant to be enjoyed so much as it is meant to be felt.  The feelings it will bring will cause some to react differently.  But make no mistake, this is a film with the kind of power to stir up those things.

It’s a testament to William Friedken that after all of these years as a director he can still helm a film that much power.  He can still push the envelope and challenge the audience to learn what disturbs them and then be confronted with that on the screen.

Some will say that ‘Killer Joe’ went too far, others will say that it didn’t, but even those would admit it's rather close the line.  It’s effective in its ability to manipulate and keep the audience in suspense but won’t soon leave you after you leave it.

As stated before this is not for everybody.  The film itself isn’t perfect but does carry with it a sure hand by the director, and great performance by McConaughy, and very good supporting cast around him.  You have to know what you’re getting yourself into with ‘Killer Joe.’  After seeing it once you will probably not want to see it again even if you liked it.  But there is some greatness within and it might be worth the cost.  

A movie like this is incredibly hard to rate which is why I have chosen not to.  This movie moreso than most people can make up their own minds about.  Further, I can’t wholeheartedly recommend this to anyone as everyone will react differently.  What I can tell you is what I have, that it’s difficult, but does contain bits of excellence.  

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