Actors: Matthew McConaughey, Emile Hirsch, Juno Temple, Gina Gershon, & Thomas Haden Church
Synopsis: A down on his luck drug dealer and his father hire a hitman to kill his mother to collect on an insurance policy.
The dreaded NC-17 rating will always bring intrigue from me towards a film. In the past decade anytime the filmmakers had the balls to release their film “as is” and challenge the rating, I’ve seen that film. Showgirls, Lust/Caution, Bully, Y Tu Mama Tambien and more recently The Human Centipede (1 & 2) and A Serbian Film are all films I went into seeing mostly due to the rating it was being given. Anytime the utterly useless MPAA (watch This Film Is Not Yet Rated to get my point) gives the rating of NC-17, I simply have to see why. This brings me to Killer Joe. Prior to seeing this film, I knew three things about it. I knew the actors, the director, and the films rating. Essentially I went into this one blind and I feel because of it, I enjoyed it a lot more than if I would have read any reviews of it.
One of the key facets I didn’t know was the plot of the film. This film follows a fellow named Chris and his lower class/trailer park occupant family. The uneducated, redneck family is a slightly less exaggeration than something Rob Zombie would use in one of his films. Chris is a drug dealer down on his luck and in debt to some bad dudes that are willing to kill him if they don’t get their money back. The character is then introduced to a man that goes by the name of Killer Joe after discussing a life insurance policy on his mother worth well more than the debt owed. Chris, his father, and his father’s new wife devise a plan to hire Joe and collect on the policy. Things get complicated as they are not able to abide by all of Joe’s rules and Joe takes Chris’ sister as a retainer until he is paid.
That’s about all you need to know of the plot because anymore would start to get too into the film and ultimately ruin it for you. Unbeknownst to me, this film quickly indentifies itself as an exploitation flick and it gets pretty crazy, pretty quickly. The film completely earns its rating during the climax that for a minute actually made me feel uncomfortable. The ending is so absurd that you completely forgive William Friedkin for what he just made you sit through as he totally wins you over.
I really want everyone to check this film out so I’m not going to dive too much into the details, I think not knowing will make the film that much more enjoyable to watch. You will find yourself laughing out loud at things you probably shouldn’t be laughing at but you will also be repulsed by many things you should. At age 76, Friedkin can still show the modern day director a thing or two about doing things right. With all the recent bad “exploitation” films being made, Friedkin has stepped in to give the genre a breath of fresh air.
The move is now in theaters but obviously is getting a very limited showing. I highly suggest searching this out. If you don’t get the opportunity to check this out in theaters, then snatch it up the second its on DVD/Blu-ray. It’s totally worth it.