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Killer Joe [DVD]

126 customer reviews

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Product details

  • Actors: Emile Hirsch, Matthew McConaughey, Juno Temple, Thomas Haden Church, Gina Gershon
  • Directors: William Friedkin
  • Format: PAL
  • Language: English
  • Region: Region 2 (This DVD may not be viewable outside Europe. Read more about DVD formats.)
  • Number of discs: 1
  • Classification: To be announced
  • Studio: Entertainment One
  • DVD Release Date: 5 Nov. 2012
  • Run Time: 103 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 3.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (126 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 13,479 in DVD & Blu-ray (See Top 100 in DVD & Blu-ray)

Product Description

Product Description

When drug dealer Chris (Emile Hirsch) has his stash stolen by his mother, he plans to dispatch of her and cash in on her $50,000 life insurance to repay his debts. He hires Detective Joe Cooper (Matthew McConaughey), a dirty cop who moonlights as a contract killer, who sets his sight on Chris’ innocent sister Dottie (Juno Temple) as collateral for the job. But the agreement turns complicated when Dottie forms a bond with Killer Joe and everything begins to unravel. Killer Joe is a controversial and shocking black comedy thriller from director William Friedkin (The Exorcist, The French Connection).


The films of director William Friedkin (The French Connection, The Exorcist, Sorcerer) have been called many things over the years, but "subtle" has never been one of them. While his brash, purposely nuance-free style can sometimes prove overpowering, when it clicks with the right material, it booms brilliantly. Killer Joe, Friedkin's reunion with playwright Tracy Letts (Bug), finds the director's in-your-face expressionist tendencies working like gangbusters, propelling this black comedy to places where most movies fear to tread. The laughs become winces, and vice versa. Letts's script (adapted from his play) follows a Texas bottom feeder (Emile Hirsch) with some serious gambling debts. Looking for a way out, he teams with his dim dad (a hilarious Thomas Haden Church) to hire a legendary hit man (Matthew McConaughey) for some dirty work. When the duo fail to come up with the collateral, however, Killer Joe sets his sights on Hirsch's beautiful sister (Juno Temple). Things go downhill at warp speed from there. Trafficking in bad taste from the very first scene (Gina Gershon makes a sleazy entrance for the ages), Friedkin and Letts take a no-holds-barred approach to their low morality tale, depicting even the darkest moments with overwrought relish. The already unstable mood is only boosted by the endearing scuzziness of Hirsch, Temple's lovely space cadet, and the fantastic Church, who deadpan annihilates every line and reaction shot tossed his way. Ruling the roost, however, is McConaughey, who spikes his trademark charisma with layers of serious menace, creating a villain who can seemingly do anything at any given moment. In a movie where virtually every character has an aura of 30-weight motor oil, he shines the darkest. --Andrew Wright

Customer Reviews

3.6 out of 5 stars

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

6 of 6 people found the following review helpful By Charles Vasey TOP 500 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on 11 July 2013
Format: DVD Verified Purchase
Desperate times call for desperate measures; but the key participants in this piece are cursed by disloyalty, foolishness and greed, and they are cats paws in the hands of the more powerful and cunning. Splendidly played by all of the cast the story makes even these simple observations more subtle still. This isn't a film for the squeamish or those who hate Michael Hanecke style films; but it demonstrates what American cinema can do when it chooses to.

For good and ill.
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20 of 23 people found the following review helpful By Amazon Customer on 30 Jun. 2013
Format: DVD
What makes Killer Joe, a cold and brutal film, work is that it's very funny. It's a true black comedy, with nary a hint of restraint. The film faced censorship in America but William Friedkin, its director, refused to cut it, reasoning that he would have destroyed it by doing so. Good for him. Though the film defines the notion of "adults only" its unpredictability and clear-eyed take on its squalid characters is what makes it disturbing, as opposed to just the level of its violence. It's not a Human Cenitpede or even a recent Texas Chainsaw. Rather, it relies on coldly efficient storytelling to disturb us, and make us laugh. Killer Joe was written by Tracy Letts, based on his play. Its humour comes from juxtapositions between bleak reality and social pleasantries, like when a gangster makes small talk with a man he's about to have savagely beaten.

Drug dealer Chris Smith (Emile Hirsch) hires "Killer" Joe Cooper (Matthew McConaughey), a cop who moonlights as an assassin, to kill Chris' mother, so he can collect her life insurance and pay some dangerous creditors. In on the plan is Chris' clueless father, Ansel (Thomas Haden Church), slutty stepmother, Sharla (Gina Gershon), and mentally immature sister, Dottie (Juno Temple). Because Chris won't be able to pay Joe until the job's done, Joe demands to be set up with Dottie as a deposit. Chris accepts this more reluctantly than Ansel.

McConaughey, a talented actor, transcends his hunky persona to play Joe as a control freak. Joe's attracted to Dottie, I think, partly because he can use her to act out, unquestioningly, all of his dreams and desires, and partly because her child-like innocence exists in a world outside the stinking horror of his. Even psychopaths appreciate nice company, I guess.
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7 of 8 people found the following review helpful By T. Cosens on 8 Feb. 2014
Format: Blu-ray
Killer Joe is not an easy movie to watch. Grim and grubby this won’t provide a cosy night it but it is riveting from start to finish.

Carl needs money and he needs it fast so he decides the best thing to do is to bump off his estranged mother and inherit her life insurance. So with the help of his father he enlist Killer Joe, a police officer moonlighting as an assassin. When Joe finds out that payment can’t be made until the murder takes place he decides to take Carl’s sister as a retainer. Suffice to say the rest of the story doesn’t quite go to plan and everything spirals out of control.

The film itself is not as controversial as some would have you believe but it does have some uncomfortable moments which will make you squirm. The film is littered with interesting characters each with their own secrets and flaws and these come to light as the film progresses. The twist in the tail is well handled and in fact the last half an hour is superbly tense.

A powerhouse performance from an increasingly exciting Matthew McConaughey only serves to make this film all the more tense. He has a seething menace and violent streak just waiting to burst from his immediately calm demeanour.

Killer Joe is a film with intent. Intending to make you wriggle in your seat which it succeeds at doing. It isn’t the quiet masterpiece that some may have hoped for, but it shows that directors like Friedkin still have the guts to push some boundaries.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Elleppi on 21 May 2013
Format: Blu-ray Verified Purchase
Ok, forget what you know and what you see about Friedkin in the seventies: it's a peak he was not going to reach again in the following decades. Still this is a pulp, brilliant, dark comedy, very well written, with a bunch of good actors and Matthew mcconaughey best performance ever (that means the director just let him be himself, playing a role that is so like he probably is in life, including his accent, that was so exploited in True Detective).
Friedkin has been smart enough to take the best of the brilliant theatrical piece the film is based on.
All the rest is good pulp/crime comedy.
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Format: Blu-ray
Finding himself in considerable debt, Chris, a Texan drug dealer, decides the only solution is to murder his mother to collect the insurance money.

Getting together with his father, the ex-husband of Chris' mother, they decide to hire Joe Cooper, a contract killer, who also happens to be a police detective.

The plan is that the money will go to Chris' sister Dottie.

However, due to the size of the contract fee, Chris agrees that Joe can take Dottie as a retainer until the insurance comes through.

Friedkin knows how to shock, but does it with a certain panache. And thanks to this, he has made some of the finest films ever.

He did falter a little in the nineties, but he has redeemed himself in the last six years with Bug, and now this little evil movie.

It's a sadistic piece, but with some cracking performances, and Mahogany puts in I career best performance. His Joe is the stuff of nightmares, and the scene when he is questioning Gershon (not the chicken leg scene), is some of the most intense cinema of the year.

The film moves at a heady pace, and it has a brilliant, almost hilarious twist at the end. It wasn't going to work well for Hirsch and Church, as they ooze bad luck, but it's fun watching them be delusional.

It's not for all tastes, it takes way too many risks, and just about gets away with them, but Friedkin has made another brilliant movie.
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