Killer Joe (USA, 2011)

killer-joe-posterDirected by: William Friedkin. Is it simplistic to just awe over what a “fucked up” movie this was? Right after watching it, that’s basically the main impression I was left with. I try to be skeptical of this kind of movie; I try to find a justification, some way that the movie itself can account for the seemingly senseless exploration into darkness and savagery that it is. Looking back, it’s obviously a very well done piece, and a pretty interesting and unique exploration of some pretty interesting and unique characters. In some ways it’s a familiar tale of lower class, trailer park types getting into trouble, driven by greed, making bad decisions, and succumbing to violence. Sort of like a hotter, dirtier, more painful-to-watch iteration of material that Fargo did for a much broader, much more acceptable to the pop culture, palette. But as comparable as these films are (look at how the Academy handled each), this film is genuinely unique: the characters are each a subtly developed puzzle that never quite becomes obvious, and the plot goes from being straightforwardly predictable to being ever more compulsively bizarre, right up to the final moment. The linchpin of the piece is the daughter, Dotty (Juno Temple–a Brit!), who exists in dream states and hallucinations as much as in the flesh, a darkly angelic/demonic figment of the other characters’ dreams (nightmares?). Regardless of anything, this film is a really compelling story by a master filmmaker (Friedkin) and a showcase of some of the best performances ever by Emile Hirsch, Matthew MaConaughey, Gina Gershon, and Hayden Christian Church. A really compelling movie, but be warned: you will never look at a chicken drumstick the same ever again.

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2 responses to “Killer Joe (USA, 2011)

  1. Pingback: List of Judgements, Anno Domini 2013 | Offhand Reviews·

  2. Pingback: Atonement (UK/France, 2007) | Offhand Reviews·

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