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Killer Joe (DVD)

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3 Reviews

Genre: Crime & Thriller / To Be Announced / Director: William Friedkin / Actors: Emile Hirsch, Matthew McConaughey, Juno Temple, Thomas Haden Church, Gina Gershon ... / DVD released 2012-11-05 at Entertainment One / Features of the DVD: PAL

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    3 Reviews
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    • More +
      25.09.2013 11:45
      Very helpful
      1 Comment



      Friedkin no longer has game

      Star - Mathew McConaughey
      Genre - Drama
      Certificate - 18R
      Run Time - 102 minutes
      Country - USA
      Blockbuster Rental - £2.00 per night
      Amazon -£7.00 DVD (£12.00 Blue Ray)
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      So Killer Joe, directed by William Friedkin, he of The Exorcist and The French Connection and not much since, having a go at some black crime comedy here in his latest attempt to get back on top. It's certainly an improvement on Bug and Rules of Engagement. But after being disappointed with the recent Killing Them Softly on familiar themes I was reticent to rent this and so left it until it dropped to the £2 a night rental at Blockbusters. It was the correct call. We just don't make these movies like we used to now that HBO and television do the genre better.


      Matthew McConaughey ... Killer Joe Cooper
      Emile Hirsch ... Chris Smith
      Juno Temple ... Dottie Smith
      Thomas Haden Church ... Ansel Smith
      Gina Gershon ... Sharla Smith
      Marc Macaulay ... Digger Soames
      Gralen Bryant Banks ... Pizza Patron
      Danny Epper ... G-Man

      === The Plot===

      Drug dealing Dallas trailer park trash Chris 'meth' Smith (Emile Hirsch) owes 22 grand to a loan shark (Marc Macaulay), about to get his finger snapped and far worse if he doesn't pay up. The plan now is to kill his mom for a $50,000 insurance payout, whacky sister Dottie (Juno Temple), dimwit dad Ansel (Thomas Haden Church) and step mom Sharla (Gina Gershon) all in agreement it's the best way forward. He has been told by his mothers ex boyfriend that Dottie will get the money, which they will split.

      They hire seedy Detective Joe Cooper (Matthew McConaughey) to do the deed, a hit man in his spare time, an asking price of 20 grand up front. But they don't have the money yet and so Cooper reluctantly agrees to take pretty 19-year-old Dottie as a down payment, only because there is chemistry between the two, soon moving into their trailer to keep a seedy eye on his investment. When the job is done he will take his cut of the payout, and the Smith family, including Dottie, can go about their business.

      But the Smith family seems just as scheming and devious as Cooper and the deal begins to unfold. It looks like someone else has their eyes on the insurance payout and now they have some explaining to do when the money doesn't show and there's a body in the trunk. The question now is what will Joe do about that cash shortfall and will he keep his retainer, that of the childlike Dottie...


      Don't believe the dustcover hype is all I can say about this one. I get that the point of the film is that Cooper is the devil incarnate holding the family accountable for their choices, and a sexy and devious performance by Matthew McConaughey in that role nails that, but this still feels a bit sadistic and patchy to be anywhere near an interesting film. A single episode Breaking Bad would beat it hands down.

      Pitched as erotic crime noir I would say it's neither. Yes young Juno Temple is sexy and rather good as the innocent young Dottie but what story there is here is quickly trampled by the seedy undertones, the chicken drumstick scene being the most infamous, nearly killing this film stone dead in America when the censors refused to give it the R certificate that allows a general release. You get the feeling Friedkin put that scene in late on for exactly that reason so to garner publicity to sell his misfire.

      It was a flop everywhere, simple as, and its $10 million budget seeing just $3 million back, only half of that net in America. People got that it was edgy but word of mouth wasn't positive about the actual film and it died a death with a rock to the back of its head. There are some good bits in it but very much the American underclass cliché on show and purely a vehicle for Matthew McConaughey, and admissible proof Friedkin is no longer a significant filmmaker. Without the drumstick scene this would have died an even quicker death. I'm not saying it's a poor or unoriginal effort but with no likeable characters or people to root for and patchy dialogue the occasional dark humor isn't enough to make this a rental of note. It's trying too hard to be controversial and so it becomes about that and not so much the narrative or message, presumably the point being we are all capable of killing our own when we need to pay our bills.


      Imdb.com - 6.8/10.0 (35,324votes)
      Metacrtic.com - 62% critic's approval
      Rottentomatos.com - 77% critic's approval

      ===Special Features===

      -Cast & Crew Interviews-

      Director, cast and writer do one-on-ones.


      Globe & Mail - 'In the immortal words of Wayne's World: "You'll laugh, you'll cry, you'll hurl."

      Toronto Star - If y'all like your comedy with a Lone Star drawl and as black as Texas tea, then by all means tuck right into Killer Joe'.

      Washington Post -'we've sewn these seeds, and we deserve whatever is reaped from them'

      Daily Telegraph -'Killer Joe is America at its worst but Friedkin and McConaghey at very close to their best'.

      The Sun -'Sick and twisted in the most interesting ways'.

      San Francisco Examiner -'It is a tale of white trash immorality on a grand scale, of people who are ridiculous and yet dangerous, laughable but cunning, and really stupid ... yet sneaky'

      Los Angeles -'Out of the muck and mire of human depravity that is "Killer Joe," something magnificent comes: a killer performance by Matthew McConaughey'.

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      • More +
        09.11.2012 18:56
        Very helpful




        Film only review.

        I had heard a lot of good things about this film from friends & family so when I saw that it had been added onto the Virgin films I decided to purchase it. Me and my boyfriend decided to watch it last night and it is definitely one of those films that stay in your head for a while, even if you just want to forget the whole thing!

        The plot is pretty straight forward. A young guy, Chris, who is a drug dealer is kicked out of his Mum's house who he has a very bad relationship with. He goes to stay with his Dad, his Dad's girlfriend and his sister, Dottie. It emerges that Chris owes his 'bosses' over $6,000 and he wants to borrow $1,000 from his Dad, who by his own words has never even seen a thousand dollars. They begin to talk about how they will get the money, with Chris' Dad been very unconcerned and disintrested until Chris mentions that his Mum has a life insurance policy worth $50,000. Chris has heard about a man who kills people for money and him and his Dad contact him in the hope that he will do their dirty work free of any advance and they promise him $25.000 for his services as long as they can pay once the job is done. But is it really money that the killer wants, or is it something.. or someone more close to home?

        The cast in this film is perfect. The gorgeous and uber talented Emile Hirsch plays Chris and he does a brilliant job. His character is slightly similar to the drug dealing gangster he played in Alpha Dog but instead of being a gangster the character is a pathetic, spineless red neck who would sell his soul for a joint! Hirsch is a really versatile actor and while his character is quite easy to dislike his perfomance kept me hooked and I couldn't wait to see if he would pay his bosses back on time. Chris starts out as the main character but Dottie, his disturbed younger sister soon takes over the show. Dottie is played by Juno Temple who is a UK actress.

        Having seen her in a few films I instantly recognised her and was impressed by her American accent. She portrays the mysterious, messed up Dottie brilliantly and I honestly think that this will be her breakthrough film seeing as she is a relatively unknown actress. Killer Joe is played by Matthew McConaughey, who I am a huge fan of. His perfomance was outstanding. The character is incredibly unpredictable and sinister yet with all his bizzarre little stories and good looks it is hard not to be secretly hugely attracted to him! He is a detective by day and killer by night.. apparently. The guy who plays Chris' Dad is a decent actor considering the gormless Frank Gallagher type character and Gina Gershon who plays Chris' Dad's girlfriend is a pretty average actor but she gives an amazing perfomance nearer the end of the film and despite the scenes that she was in being quite over the top she gave a very convincing perfomance.

        The film has a sort of grey tone to it which reflects on the low mood of the characters and the depressing area - a rundown trailer park. There is a lot of violence and as a result a lot of blood. In the fight scenes it was clear that there were no special effects used, just play fighting and fake blood but it did look very real, even on the close-up head shots. There are very little special effects used apart from in the explosion and gun shot scenes and it looked amazing - completely real. The picture quality was crisp and clear and all of the scenes were shot in good quality lighting, even the strip club scenes which was blue tinted because of the lighting.

        This film is messed up, but I loved it. It is not at all what I was expecting - I was expecting Killer Joe to be the main character and for the film to follow his life and show him killing people, I guess! I thought it would be one of those films that shows someones softer side, perhaps like Bronson. Instead, the film focusses on a redneck family and rather than being a tale of murder it is more a messed-up tale of lust and love. The film is classed as a dark comedy on the wiki page, which sums it up well. It's like a cross between a thriller and a comedy but it's one that will make you feel slightly ill to watch considering the gruesome goings on but it gets the viewer so hooked that it's hard not to watch. There's a lot more dialouge in the film than I was expecting but it is balanced out nicely with some sex and gory scenes while still being realistic and although it is far fetched it is not so far feteched that it is cringey to watch or completely unbelievable. The twist at the end is unexpected and it is left on a cliffhanger which left me and my boyfriend disscussing the film for a good hour or so.

        The film is an eighteen and it is available on DVD and Blu ray. It is bizzarre, tense, gripping and somewhat mysterious. The actors are amazing and the script is flawless. The film is balanced out nicely with humour here and there (the type that you're not sure whether to laugh or cringe at) and a decent amount of gore and action. There's no doubt that it is very disturbing and it made me very uncomfortable at some points but I still give it five out of five stars due to the acting.


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        19.09.2012 23:13
        Very helpful



        Shocking, bonkers and hilarious - with a Matthew McConaughey you've never seen before - great stuff

        If you think for a second your family is somehow dysfunctional, wait until you see what William Friedkin has to offer in "Killer Joe." The set-up itself may be too out there for some, but the more you sit through the latest dark comedy offering from the director of "The Exorcist" and "The French Connection," (yes, he is still alive!) the more you will realise just how twisted everything becomes. The story follows Chris (Emile Hirsch), a small-town drug-dealer who owes money to some very dangerous and powerful people who wouldn't hesitate to kill him unless he comes up with the required payment as soon as possible. There is no way he can get his hands on the substantial sum in such a tight period of time, so he comes up with a cunning plan: to kill his mother. Yes, the film shows very little hesitation with packing in the shocks. His mother's life insurance money will be enough to cover the costs of his debt, to pay the killer who he hopes will professionally complete the task for him, and there will also be some left over for him and the rest of his family to keep.

        The title "Killer Joe" refers to Joe Cooper (Matthew McConaughey), a police detective with surplus work on the side in which he expertly murders his targets for a set amount of price. He insists on a down payment of 25,000 dollars, something Chris does not have. Joe almost walks away from it all, until he sees Chris' sister Dottie (Juno Temple), a sweet, young and innocent looking girl who has a relatively slow mind most likely due to endless trauma and abuse that came from her birth mother. Holding Dottie as his "insurance," Joe goes about his mission. Also in on this little scheme is Chris and Dottie's father Ansel (Thomas Haden Church), the intended victim's ex-husband, plus his new wife Sharla (Gina Gershon). It's disturbing and darkly comic to see how very little persuasion is needed to get everyone on board for this highly volatile arrangement. They could all use the money, plus they all despise the victim so...why not?

        How Joe Cooper goes about his life and business is no-one's concern, and we are never shown in detail just how he is such an expert in his side-job, but it's McConaughey's strut and swagger that immediately hook us to his character. His thick Southern accent also comes in handy here, with his calm, poised and confident delivery adding an extra layer of chilly persona to his already ambiguous central role. This is arguably one of the finest performances given by someone who is far too often written off as a sleazy rom-com actor that no-one takes too seriously. He has played more than decent roles before, mostly in courtroom dramas in which he played smooth lawyers, but his part here is truly a breath of fresh air for the actor, and although the violent, uncomfortable nature will no doubt prevent him from getting wide recognition, it's a real pleasure and surprise to see hidden talents McConaughey has to give. His ruthless, ultra-violent side that unflinchingly springs out when he is crossed is hilariously evil and sudden, whereas the composed, well-mannered Southern gentlemanly side that comes out unexpectedly is a delicate balance he achieves brilliantly.

        Packed full with intriguing characters who are never quite what they seem, Friedkin puts them all to good use in creating an unpredictable atmosphere, that requires patience until everything is revealed and out in the open. But it's no difficult challenge to wait, as events are unfolded in a brutal, straightforward and crisp manner. Friedkin never wastes any times, as he deals immediately with the issues at hand. Whilst moving forward with the deeply unsettling plot, he also frequently finds time for some dark humour, thanks knot only to the fantastic leading man, but also due to the equally memorable supporting cast.

        Down on his luck and stuck helpless in his own incompetence is Hirsch, whose naïveté and occasional bouts of ill-advised bravery (he is somehow deluded enough to think he has absolute control over this messy situation, even more so when things start to unravel), contributing to his increasingly pathetic character, effortlessly oozes out of the young actor, and it is easy to genuinely worry for someone who is so clearly not cut out to deal with a rapidly disintegrating situation such as this one. A valuable comic contribution comes from Church, as the easy-going, slightly dim-witted patriarch, going with the flow, not really having thought through the possible consequences. Gershon has a sizable role as the gold-digging, white trash of a new wife, who is the stand-out duplicitous character throwing in a few twists and turns in the film's bloody, highly shocking climax. Together, these three make quite the broken family unit: lashing out at one another is commonplace, curse words fly around the house and it's comically troubling to have a film kick off based on these three majorly flawed individuals.

        The real scene-stealing champ here however is Temple, who has had such a wide range of roles in the past and should definitely count this on as a highlight in her growing filmography. She is the vulnerable little sister, essentially someone you would expect to be the most naïve one out of this odd bunch, and although she displays certain quirks and ditzy qualities, she is far from a "stupid" character. She observes, from behind closed doors or around the corners of her trailer house, and when everyone else is busy screaming and/or swearing at each other, she stays out of the direct line of fire, but she listens and learns, knowing full well what is going on in the house. Surrounded by so much madness, and on top of that with the highly creepy Joe Cooper advancing himself towards her, even the fragile flower Dottie shows she has a breaking point. Temple, with full control of Dottie's drastic changes throughout the film, absolutely dominates the chaotic, blood-soaked, somewhat rushed finale. It happens all so suddenly, and by the time the last "bang" sounds and the credits start rolling, you'll be left confused as to how the heck the final few seconds really fit in with the rest of the film, but the sheer outrageous nature of it all will make you unexpectedly smile and perhaps laugh. Just one piece of crucial advice before viewing this: do not, under any circumstances, enter with a bucket of fried chicken (a surprisingly popular snack of choice in certain cinemas). You will regret it. Oh you absolutely will. If this doesn't get you curious about the film, I don't know what will. You have been warned.


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