Friday, August 31, 2012


Director: William Friedkin
Writer: Tracy Letts

Cast: Matthew McConaughey, Emile Hirsch, and Juno Temple

When a Texas trailer park family decides to hire Killer Joe to off their evil mother, they have no clue what they've gotten themselves into.

Friedkin (director of The Exorcist) said he didn't plan for viewers to enjoy this film. For the most part, I didn't. However, this was one of the most fascinating character studies I've seen in a long time. My first exposure to McConaughey was when we moved to Austin just about the time he got busted for three a.m. naked bongo playing. He was just a pretty boy actor then. Well, let me tell you, Det. Joe Cooper isn't real pretty. Sociopathic and scary are more like it.

The story's pretty simple. A kid who's taken the easy way out one too many times comes up with the wrong plan and gets his whole family in trouble. Hard truth about the Smith family is that the one with the obvious mental issues is the smartest one of all.

I've heard some interesting descriptions for this film, but I'm settling on Texas Gothic. There's some very dark comedy in here, but for the most part, the film's a thriller heavy on violence. Don't expect to have a bathroom break, you could miss too much. Serious nod to Thomas Haden Church for his role as Ansel, the head of the dysfunctional family. He played his role just right.

The music's interesting. It's a bass heavy mix of old country featuring Lee Hazlewood's singing which is just right for the film's feel.

This is not a film I'd own or I'd ever want to see again. But it was an interesting escape for the afternoon.

Rebecca McFarland Kyle, September 2012

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