July 18, 2016

Killer Joe

William Friedkin, 2012
Two years before Matthew McConaughey wowed audiences with his Rust Cohle character in HBO's True Detective, he got some reps playing the morally obscure man of law enforcement in title character Killer Joe. Joe is a Dallas police officer who moonlights as a hit-man.

Chris Smith (Emile Hirsch) is in debt to some shady characters and he has reached the end of his rope with time to pay them back. He hires Joe to kill his mother to collect a $50,000 life insurance policy which would be split among himself, his father, and his sister after paying Joe off.

Killer Joe is a film filled with despicable figures. There is really only one redeeming person, that being sister Dottie (Juno Temple). Dottie is sort of written off by her other family members because she is of inferior intellect so she therefore gets some special treatment. But Dottie is surrounded by chaos. Their father (Hayden Church) is a heavy drinker / low-life. Brother Chris is just an untrustworthy dirtbag. Their mother is virtually out of the picture. Joe comes into the situation and it's interesting because while is slightly above them in terms of the social hierarchy, he is not too far above them in the sense that he gravitates to Dottie for companionship. You get a sense that Joe, while he may be a capable hitman, really doesn't have much going on in his own personal life.

It all ends up being a tornado of malevolent deception, with Dottie unfortunately too close to it all. It's an enticing story not because you are so concerned with the characters well-being but you just want to see how it all plays out. It's pretty clear early on that it's not going to work out well for everyone involved in the whole assassination scheme. One of the things I had heard prior to seeing this film was "you'll never look at fried chicken the same again". I had to bring that up, because they were so right. You won't.

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