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Killer Joe 2011

When a debt puts a young man's life in danger, he turns to putting a hit out on his evil mother in order to collect the insurance.

Starring:
Matthew McConaughey, Emile Hirsch
Runtime:
1 hour, 38 minutes

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Product Details

Genres Drama, Thriller, Comedy
Director William Friedkin
Starring Matthew McConaughey, Emile Hirsch
Supporting actors Juno Temple, Thomas Haden Church, Gina Gershon, Marc Macaulay, Gralen Bryant Banks, Carol Sutton, Danny Epper, Jeff Galpin, Scott A. Martin, Gregory C. Bachaud, Charley Vance, Julia Adams, Geraldine Glenn, Sean O'Hara, Blain Sanchez, Tony Severio, Lynette Zumo
Studio Entertainment One
BBFC rating Suitable for 18 years and over
Purchase rights Stream instantly Details
Format Amazon Video (streaming online video)

Customer Reviews

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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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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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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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Format: DVD
Personally, I think this does for Matthew McConaughey what Pulp Fiction did for Travolta. Remember when Travolta was lost in 'Look Who's Talking' Hell? Well Matthew McConaughey's been sleepwalking through Rom-Coms for years. He was great in Dazed & Confused... Remember that?

Well, in Killer Joe he plays a great character, a twisted contract killer with own weird sense of moral purpose. Hired by a couple of dim rednecks to off a family member for the insurance pay out, he waives his usual payment upfront rule and agrees a deal with the drug dealer who hires him. He'll take the dealers trailer park ingenue sister as a retainer instead until the cash comes through.

In a cinematic landscape of bland, safe big screen entertainment, this is the kind of underbelly darkness that really bites. Blackly comic, expertly played and building to a shocking climax, Killer Joe is a must see movie.

Killer Joe [DVD]
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By Albatross TOP 1000 REVIEWER on 11 Nov. 2012
Format: DVD Verified Purchase
I first found out about `Killer Joe' from UK film critic Mark Kermode who said that, after watching the film, he wasn't actually sure whether he liked it or not. I was intrigued. I wondered whether you automatically knew whether you liked something or not after experiencing it. However, after viewing Killer Joe, I am also wondering whether I liked it or not.

Killer Joe is about a trailer park family on the wrong side of the law in America. The son owes a lot of money to some local drug dealers and decides to have hitman Joe Cooper (or `Killer' as the title says) shoot her so that they can benefit from the insurance money. Definitely a film of an adult nature. For a start, it's very `gritty.' It has many brutal beatings, murders and acts of a s*xual nature (including torture). Yet it's also strangely comic (in the darkest, blackest sense possible). You certainly get a feel for the characters, even though none of them are in any way likeable.

It's kind of like a window into another world. A world full of car crashes that you have to watch, but don't necessarily want to experience firsthand.

Did I enjoy it? I certainly didn't turn it off. Would I want to watch it again? Maybe. In a while. Right now it's a bit too fresh in my head. I think it may warrant a second viewing, but only if I'm in the mood for something pretty dark and nasty. I can see quite a lot of people hating this for being just generally horrible. To be fair, they may have a point. This is one film that you'll either be able to stand or you won't.

Those of you into `light and fluffy' beware - you have been warned!
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