William Friedkin’s (The Exorcist, The French Connection) latest film is a masterful blend of dark comedy, nail-biting suspense, and unflinchingly brutal violence and sex. Killer Joe stars Matthew McConaughey as a Texas officer of the law who moonlights as a contract killer. For a cool $25,000 he’ll kill anybody you ask him to, no questions asked. For Emile Hirsch and his messed-up, trailer-trash family (Thomas Haden Church, Juno Temple, Gina Gershon) that means killing his mother, so that his little sister Dottie can collect on the insurance policy, so that he can pay off a drug money debt before he gets whacked. Unfortunately for all involved, Joe only takes cash up front. Seems like they’re all screwed until Joe lays eyes on the virginal Dottie, and decides he’ll take her as a retainer until the money comes in. As if this story weren’t messed up enough already. As the plot twists and turns around the desolate small town landscape, the characters have changes of heart that put kinks in the original deal. It all leads to a final act that is so bizarre and outrageous it landed the film a hefty NC-17 rating. You may never eat a drumstick again. The film is expertly crafted by a talented director and an ensemble cast at the top of their game, not the least of which is McConaughey as the titular character, easily one of his finest, most daring roles, played with steely intensity. I’m hoping Oscar will knock on his door. For a bloody insane time with some good ol’ boys and girls, this “totally twisted deep-fried Texas redneck trailer park murder story” can’t be beat.



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