Killer Joe

Killer Joe

Director: William Friedkin

Cast: William Friedkin, Matthew McConaughey, Emile Hirsch, Thomas Haden Church

     
 

View All Available Formats & Editions

A desperate Texas drug dealer plots to settle a sizable debt by killing his mother and collecting the insurance money, but gets into an even bigger mess after hiring a twisted police detective who moonlights as a killer-for-hire to get the job done. Chris (Emile Hirsch) is in serious trouble. He's just incurred a major debt to DiggerSee more details below

Overview

A desperate Texas drug dealer plots to settle a sizable debt by killing his mother and collecting the insurance money, but gets into an even bigger mess after hiring a twisted police detective who moonlights as a killer-for-hire to get the job done. Chris (Emile Hirsch) is in serious trouble. He's just incurred a major debt to Digger Soames (Marc Macaulay), and when you're late paying Digger, you can wind up dead. His back against the wall, Chris comes to his father Ansel (Thomas Haden Church) with a sinister proposition: they'll hire a killer to get rid of Chris' mother (and Ansel's ex-wife), then collect the insurance money that will go to Chris' teenage sister Dottie (Juno Temple), a seraphic sleepwalker who seems to exist in a world all her own. Bringing Chris' temperamental stepmother Sharla (Gina Gershon) in on the hustle, the young deadbeat and his dimwitted father enlist the services of Joe Cooper (Matthew McConaughey), a local police detective whose authority and detailed knowledge of police procedures make him the perfect hired killer. But Joe doesn't come cheap, and when his fee proves bigger than expected, Chris and Ansel agree to let him have Dottie as a "retainer" until the insurance check clears. Just when it starts to look as if everything is going according to plan, however, an unexpected complication plunges the entire situation into total chaos. A lurid black comedy that goes to some very dark places, Killer Joe is the second collaboration between acclaimed director William Friedkin and playwright/screenwriter Tracy Letts, who previously worked together on the 2006 psychological thriller Bug.

Read More

Editorial Reviews

All Movie Guide - Jason Buchanan
We tend to speak in the past tense when discussing the works of great filmmakers, even if they're still alive and active late in their careers. But every once in a while, a veteran director will surprise us by refusing to mellow with age, turning out a movie that's every bit as ambitious, audacious, and daring as his early efforts. William Friedkin accomplishes just such a move in Killer Joe, a funny, unapologetically bizarre, and at times shocking adaptation of Tracy Letts' pulpy stage play. And with a powerhouse cast to back him up, the result is a film that will leave you speechless. Chris (Emile Hirsch) is in serious trouble. He's just incurred a major debt to Digger Soames (Marc Macaulay), and when you're late paying Digger, you can wind up dead. His back against the wall, Chris goes to his father Ansel (Thomas Haden Church) with a sinister proposition: They'll hire a killer to get rid of Chris' mother (and Ansel's ex-wife), then collect the insurance money that will go to Chris' teenage sister Dottie (Juno Temple), a seraphic sleepwalker who seems to exist in a world all her own. After bringing Chris' temperamental stepmother Sharla (Gina Gershon) in on the hustle, the young deadbeat and his dim-witted father enlist the services of Joe Cooper (Matthew McConaughey), a local cop whose authority and detailed knowledge of police procedures make him the perfect hired killer. But Joe doesn't come cheap, and when his fee proves bigger than expected, Chris and Ansel agree to let him have Dottie as a "retainer" until the insurance check clears. Just when it starts to look as if everything is going according to plan, however, an unexpected complication plunges the entire situation into total chaos. The first thing that grabs you about Killer Joe is Letts' punchy dialogue. A vivacious mix of plot-propelling quips and telling barbs, it possesses a unique cadence and rhythm that, set against the backdrop of Friedkin's brazenly cinematic imagery, immediately immerses us in a world of desperate, double-crossing lowlives and ruthless killers. And the actors handle it with the skill of seasoned pros: As the slow-witted father/son duo hungering for a big payday, Hirsch and Haden Church share a tragicomic rapport that keeps us laughing with nervous energy as their "perfect" crime slowly unravels. Gershon smolders as Ansel's trashy, oversexed wife Sharla, a boozy floozy who doesn't think twice about answering the door without pants. In the hands of any other actress, the ethereal Dottie could have easily thrown the entire equation off balance, yet the talented Temple portrays her with a compelling mix of vulnerability and transcendental wisdom. And with just a single onscreen appearance in the entire film, Macaulay's Digger Soames is evil personified -- a genial psycho who might buy you a beer one day, and bury you the next. But make no mistake, this is McConaughey's show though and through. Even in a career marked by eccentric characters, Joe Cooper is one of the most memorable; by injecting a potent shot of menace into the unsettlingly polite, coolly measured detective, McConaughey always keeps the audience off guard. We never doubt the fact that Cooper is in complete control even after the plan spirals into disarray, and once we finally witness the true depths of his twisted sadism in the final act, it's enough to send more sensitive viewers running for the exits. Having previously collaborated on the 2006 thriller Bug, Friedkin and Letts prove especially proficient at complementing one another's strengths to create a world that's entirely convincing on its own terms. The characters, setting, and dialogue have all been honed to hyperstylized perfection, thrusting the viewer directly into the story from the rain-soaked opening shot (courtesy of five-time Oscar-nominated cinematographer Caleb Deschanel), and holding us captive straight through to the brilliant last line -- one that's sure to frustrate as many as it fascinates. But the beauty of Killer Joe is that even if you hang on every word, you're still bound to miss some of the subtle nuances that make the film such a ferociously tense and funny affair, ensuring that subsequent viewings of this finger-lickin' black comedy will be even more rewarding for those brave enough to go back for seconds.

Read More

Product Details

Release Date:
12/21/2012
UPC:
0031398162032
Original Release:
2011
Rating:
NR
Source:
Lions Gate
Region Code:
A
Presentation:
[Wide Screen]
Sound:
[DTS 5.1-Channel Surround Sound, Dolby AC-3 Surround Sound]
Time:
1:42:00
Sales rank:
12,981

Related Subjects

Cast & Crew

Performance Credits
Matthew McConaughey "Killer" Joe Cooper
Emile Hirsch Chris,Chris Smith
Thomas Haden Church Ansel,Ansel Smith
Juno Temple Dottie Smith
Gina Gershon Sharla,Sharla Smith
Marc Macaulay Digger Soames
Graylen Banks Pizza Patron
Carol Sutton Saleslady
Danny Epper G-Man
Jeffrey Galpin Biker Thug
Scott Martin Pizza Manager
Gregory Bauchard Filpatrick
Charley Vance Preacher

Technical Credits
William Friedkin Director
C.C. Adcock Musical Direction/Supervision
Tyler Bates Score Composer
Steve Boeddeker Sound/Sound Designer
Franco-Giacomo Carbone Production Designer
Denise Chamian Casting
Nicolas Chartier Producer
Vicki Cherkas Executive Producer
Molly Conners Executive Producer
Caleb Deschanel Cinematographer
Scott Einbinder Producer
Alexandra Fehrman Sound Editor
Zev Foreman Executive Producer
Jeffrey Haupt Sound Mixer
Tracy Letts Screenwriter
Aaron Levy Sound/Sound Designer
Doreen Wilcox Little Associate Producer
Darrin Navarro Editor
Patrick Newall Co-producer
Michael Salven Asst. Director
Peggy Schnitzer Costumes/Costume Designer
Eli Selden Associate Producer
Roman Viaris Executive Producer
Christopher Woodrow Executive Producer

Read More

Scene Index

Southern Fried Hospitality: From Stage To Screen; SXSW Q&A With Cast; SXSW Intro By William Friedkin; Audio Commentary With Director William Friedkin; "White Trash" Red Band Trailer

Read More

Customer Reviews

Average Review:

Write a Review

and post it to your social network

     

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

See all customer reviews >