Killer Joe [2011]

Directed by: William Friedkin
Written by: Tracy Letts (based on his play)
Starring: Matthew McConaughey, Emile Hirsch, Thomas Haden Church, Juno Temple, Gina Gershon

Killer Joe is absolutely deranged, unspeakably dirty and incredibly messy (and I loved it). A titillating account of crime in the Deep South, Killer Joe is uncomfortably sordid but also the most consistently entertaining flick I’ve checked out so far in 2012.

Like that Grinch song says, you wouldn’t touch this people “with a 39-and-a-half foot pole”, and that’s probably what makes this Southern Gothic fable so fascinating. These trashy characters are the scum of the earth.

Shockingly violent, brazenly sexual and featuring the most disturbing use of a fried chicken leg ever committed to celluloid, Killer Joe is one of the best movies of the year, displaying the very worst things you could ever imagine.

You’ve never seen a family as rotten as the filthy denizens of Tracy Letts’s script; the work of Gina Gershon, Thomas Haden Church and Emile Hirsch is commendable. Special credit must go to Juno Temple, heartbreaking as the sweet, oblivious Dottie.

But make no mistake: this is entirely Matthew McConaughey’s movie. He’s James Stewart as an evil cowboy; a marvelous performance worthy of award recognition. You’ll never see this kind of depravity in a Kate Hudson romcom. He knows that, and he relishes the opportunity to let loose in a meaty, unprecedented (for him) role as a suave southern sicko. I feel bad for those with weak stomachs. They’ll miss out on the performance of a lifetime.