Monday, April 6, 2015

Short Attention Span Review: Killer Joe (2011)

I greatly enjoy many of William Friedkin's films.  The Exorcist is an iconic horror film, and I'm equally fond of his most underrated picture, Sorcerer.  In truth, I typically have a hard time recommending Sorcerer because it's so grim that I know that many probably won't enjoy it despite the fact that I believe that it's a genuine masterpiece.  With that in mind, let me start this review by saying that Sorcerer is about as merry and heart-warming as Annie when compared with Killer Joe.  Seriously, this is one nasty movie, and it gleefully takes vulgarity to new heights.  Or should it be lows?  It doesn't matter--the point is simply this: there are times when this movie is surely as grotesque and revolting as anything you're apt to see that is worth watching.  Yet it is also a superb effort bolstered by fabulous performances, flawless direction, and remarkable cinematography.  The script (adapted by Tracy Letts from his play) is also a major achievement in that it keeps you riveted even though the cast of characters is mostly unlikable and the story that unfolds is a wicked descent into utter depravity.  It's really Mathew McConaughey's show, and he sizzles throughout, totally owning a part that would have brought many gifted performers to their knees.  He is vicious, charismatic, insane, and extremely entertaining.  The rest of the cast (including Emile Hirsch, Juno Temple, Gina Gershon and her beaver pelt, and Thomas Haden Church, who join forces to portray what may be the stupidest family in the history of the cinema) are also down for this darkly comedic ride.  The ending is truly marvelous--I'm tempted to say that it may be the finest abrupt ending that I've ever beheld.  It's a perfect spot to close the show out even though it comes during the most striking moment in the film and leaves you with a couple of potent questions to ponder during the credits.  In closing, if you can stomach it, you're going to be rather amazed by Killer Joe.

Final Grade: A
You will never look at a drumstick quite the same way after watching this one.

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