Killer Joe (2012)

4/5

USA; William Friedkin

 

Adults Only - Graphic Violence; Explicit Disturbing Sexual Situations; Strong Language

 

 

In debt to a local drug baron, Chris Smith (Emile Hirsch) and his indolent, careless father hire Joe Cooper (Matthew McConaughey), a cop with an extracurricular line in murder, to get rid of Chris’ alcoholic, lowlife mother, who happens to have a considerable life assurance which might put the family back on track. A plan they really haven’t though through…

 

Friedkin is known as a firebrand who never hesitates to go beyond what is commonly accepted as decent and “watchable”. From the legendary "The Exorcist" to the infamous "Cruising", his universe is macabre, dark and deliberately shocking. As one may duly expect, his latest opus is as pulpy, oppressive and impulsively unrestrained as these films used to be. But, as the film progresses, Killer Joe proves to be much more than an ice-hearted shock-seeker. Underneath the disenchanted cruel comedy, Friendkin’s harrowing vision of a vile, sordid humanity going to hell is truly despairing.

 

The energy emanating from this bold enterprise is palpable, while its emotional punch and disturbing intensity will send you reeling in search of a warm, quiet place to soothe your eyes and mind. However, one can feel that Friedkin is not totally in control, and often gets carried away…sometimes for the best, sometimes for the worst. Fortunately, despite some unwelcome hiatuses, Friedkin knows how to strike the right notes to freeze your blood and make the hairs on the back of your neck stand up. In the process, he created what might become one of the most iconic villains of the decade: Killer Joe. Silk-smooth, reptilian, Mephistophelean, he summons a serene, honeyed, but all the more alarming, gravitas. Drifting deftly from walking nightmare to oily charmer with “eyes that hurt”, McConaughey is a haunting, chilling anti-presence.

 

This powerful, yet imperfect, depiction of a world precipitated in an abyss of evil is literally thrilling; you’ll walk out swimming in cold sweat, with your ears buzzing and your eyes aching.

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