Tuesday, 3 July 2012
REVIEW: KILLER JOE
Not Your Average Joe.
105 Minutes. Starring: Matthew McConaughey, Emile Hirsch, Thomas Haden Church, Gina Gershon & Juno Temple. Director: William Friedkin. Screenplay: Stacy Letts
Matthew McConaughey has always been a great, unique actor. Far from a poor mans Woody Harrelson this leading light has his greats...he's just really has to dig deep for them. As popular as he is with the female crowd, rom-coms just aren't his thing. Now far from being haunted by the 'Ghosts From Girlfriends Past' and chick flicks that suffered a 'Failure To Launch' the man with this distinct drawl is back and speaking well for himself. One of last years best movies 'The Lincoln Lawyer' made the case for Matthew's career recharge and now following a hallmark performance the courtroom expert returns with 'A Time To Kill' on his mind in another thriller based on a page-turning, heralded book.
The story of 'Killer Joe' really is something else, but that doesn't necessarily mean that's a good thing. In a trailer trash tale of the lowest order. Rising talent Emile Hirsch plays young man graduated from the school of 'effing up' owes big dollars to the kinds of people you don't want to owe the slightest bit of money to as the 'Lucky Number Slevin' saying goes. His solution; hire somebody to kill his mother whose life insurance policy should cover him and his fathers (obviously the ex, whose obviously up for it) needs to go along with his little sister and some other interested parties. Family values hey?!
This is where Matthew's Joe and the kids even more perfect planning comes into play. Joe (who is an assassin and a cop...oops) demands payment up-front. When writing a cheque doesn't even work. Joe settles for what he coldly calls a "retainer"; the younger sister. What emerges from this 'does she look old enough' agonizingly awkward scenario of the highest order is one of the weirdest love stories you'll ever see. 'Moonrise Kingdom' sweetly strange this is not. It makes 'Romeo & Juliet' look tamer than 'Bridges Over Madison County'. Far from Mconaghey's other romantic work-you certainly couldn't lose this guy in ten days-this is hard to take. We thought this was a hit-man movie...the criminal nature is something much worse.
'Killer Joe' is equal parts slick and sick. What more could you expect from William Friedkin, the man that directed both the horrifying as hell 'The Exorcist' and the cool as class 'French Connection'. Comparing 'Joe' to last years indie hit 'Drive' where the brutal scenes-where somewhat justified in the name of love-it pales because there are no redeeming characters here. This complex study does collaborate features that redeem however. This films nature is cruel and callous but to its credit it's also compelling. That thanks to another star-turn from McConaughey who despite some unnecessarily sickening moments is suffering no ill health to his current credibility. Sensationally sinister and coldly calculated our lead straddles the fine line between being charming and creepy as well as law and illegal disorder. It's a tough and unlikeable role but one that McConaughey brings some reverence to with some ease. You have to admire that.
The rest of the cast are great too-that's what you can expect from Thomas Haden Church, Gina Gershon and Juno Temple-even if they do represent the worst of the worst here. The film is shot well too from thunderous atmospheric beginnings to the Walton's gone wild ending which may have a good case in point excuse for the next time someone asks why you don't sit at the table for your meals anymore. Unfortunately like a T.V. Dinner this offering could have been so much more but some unnecessarily too far, sick and violent moments almost make you hope your popcorn tub is empty. Let's put it this way I'm no chicken but you'll never want to eat KFC again. With too friendly too be true mobsters and some wardrobe malfunctions there is comic relief in this picture and let's face it you'll need it. Unsettling but unique, off-putting but on-point 'Killer Joe' is far from regular and in some way or another is bound to make as killing. TIM DAVID HARVEY.