Killer Joe

Tracy Letts' brilliant black stage comedy has been made darker, bloodier and not quite so funny in this NC-17 collaboration with director William Friedkin. I loved the devastatingly funny and audacious stage play but found myself uncomfortable with a number of scenes in the movie. Why is it necessary to ramp up the sex, violence and gore for movies? In my opinion, overkill is overrated.

The movie is extremely well-acted, so I can't complain about this sterling cast:
  • Matthew McConaughey ("Magic Mike") continues to grow as an actor. As Joe, the cop who takes "side jobs," he is chillingly effective, particularly as you notice his courtly manners, good grammar and icy no-nonsense style.
  • Emile Hirsch ("Savages") is Chris, the dumb cluck who owes more debts than he can ever repay. His reaction goes from petulance to panic. It's his solution, an insurance scam, that starts things rolling. Hirsch gets better and better.
  • Juno Temple ("The Dark Knight Rises") is Dottie, the brain-damaged young woman who serves as the family's "retainer" for her brother's deal. There is never a moment when we doubt her intellectual limitations, and she makes a good tuna casserole.
  • Thomas Hayden Church ("We Bought a Zoo"), sporting the world's scraggliest beard, is Ansel, the cuckold father of Dottie and Chris. He is so bewildered and terrorized he can't even help himself!
  • Gina Gershon ("How to Make it in America") is Sharla, Ansel's faithless wife.
As was true in the stage play, the most effective elements in this story are the ones we DON'T see, which is why I am so disappointed by all of the things we DO see: Lots of violent beatings, gun play, and prolonged sexual innuendo.

Sorry, but I can't recommend this one.
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Here is a link to a trailer:
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