Wednesday, August 1, 2012

Killer Joe: I Might Not Look at Fried Chicken the Same

A drug dealer, Chris (Emile Hirsch), who owes his suppliers money, plans with with his father, stepmother, and sister Dottie (Juno Temple) to kill his mother in order to take the proceeds of her life insurance whose beneficiary is Dottie. Chris arranges for a contract killer, Joe (Matthew McConaughey) to kill his mother. Since Chris doesn't have the money to pay Joe's upfront fee, so Joe offers to take Dottie as retainer for his services. As is often the case, things don't go as planned.

That's the plot of William Friedkin's Killer Joe, based on the play of the same name. A rather simple story, but that's not what makes Killer Joe a great film.

What makes Killer Joe work is McConaughey's fantastic performance as Killer Joe Cooper. Throughout the movie, he uses his natural Texas charm to make his Joe both a charming and menacing character. There are two amazing scenes in the film, one where Joe and Dottie are alone in a trailer home and the final scene with the entire family, McConaughey slowly builds the character of Joe into a both an alluring and disturbing personality.

The last twenty minutes of the movie are tense a slow build to a fiery conclusion, even though final minute or two felt rushed and unexpected, with not enough justification of what happened. Those final two minutes are not enough to turn me off from Killer Joe.

***1/2 stars