MIFF: Killer Joe
Sunday, August 12 2012
Gone are the days when Matthew McConaughey could be found smirking goofily from the covers of forgettable rom-coms, confident in his ability to get the girl in the third act. In what is without doubt his finest hour (and forty minutes), the star of such drek as Fool’s Gold and Failure To Launch brings a soft-spoken intensity to his portrayal of the eponymous psychopath in Killer Joe, filling every scene he’s in with the promise of imminent brutality. This pitch-black comedy, courtesy of playwright/screenwriter Tracy Letts and director William Friedkin (The Exorcist, Bug) will fill you with disgust, horror and the guiltiest pleasure you’ve ever felt.
Deep in debt to all the wrong people, trailer trash drug dealer Chris (Emile Hirsch) enlists his slow-witted bumpkin father (Thomas Haden Church) in a plot to have his mother professionally murdered for her life insurance. Enter “Killer” Joe Cooper, whose icy dominance and possessive devotion to Chris’ mentally-unbalanced sister (Juno Temple as the aptly-named Dottie) soon drives the Texan family to desperate action.
Filled with moments of nauseating tension and gruesome hilarity, Killer Joe is confronting, bloody and lovingly sick. Temple’s charmingly vacant performance provides a beautiful counterweight to McConaughey’s easy-going sadism, and to watch Joe’s mask of homespun gentility dissolve into bulging-veined bloodlust is consistently disturbing. Killer Joe takes an unwholesome pleasure in seeing how far it can push its audience before they stop laughing—and you won’t.
Killer Joe does not currently have an Australian release date.