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Killer Joe (DQ)


Stars: Matthew McConaughey, Emile Hirsch, Gina Gershon, Juno Temple, Thomas Haden Church, Marc Macaulay, Julia Adams, Gregory C Bachaud

Director: William Friedkin

A quite sickeningly violent screen version of Tracy Betts' equally violent play. Star McConaughey is unnervingly chilling as the cop/killer hired by Chris (Emile Hirsch), who still lives with his father (Thomas Haden Church) and faithless stepmother (Gina Gershon, welcome back), as well as his Lolita-type nymphet sister (Juno Temple).

Deep in debt to loan sharks - though apparently able to afford a gun and a thousand dollars for a bet - Hirsch hatches the seemingly crazy idea of hiring an assassin to bump off his mother (now with a new boyfriend) who has supposedly left all her money to the nymphet.

Well, Mama duly gets stiffed, but nothing else works out the way anyone expects, leaving Joe to go berserk at the end, beating most of the family to a pulp. But that's not all...

It's the blackest of black comedies with an intense atmosphere and a few uneasy laughs. It goes a bit too far, however, in a final sequence that splatters the screen with rather too much gore and sick-making use of a chicken drumstick that deadens its own effect by going on too long.

David Quinlan

USA 2011. UK Distributor: Entertainment-One. Colour by deluxe.
103 minutes. Not widescreen. UK certificate: 18.

Guidance ratings (out of 3): Sex/nudity 2, Violence/Horror 3, Drugs 1, Swearing 2.

Review date: 23 Jun 2012