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.
The unrated DVD retains the MPAA's NC-17 graphic at the end, although the rating was surrendered. See more »
The USA/Canada DVD is available in two versions, one the original NC-17 rated version (labeled as Unrated) and the other an R-Rated version. The R-Rated version has the following cuts:
1:25:27 (10.5 sec. cut) Sharla starts sucking at the chicken leg. Joe moans "Easy...easy."
1:25:42 (5.5 sec. cut) A cut to Carla, who is still sucking the chicken leg, is missing. The R-Rated shows the shot of Joe without interruption, lengthening it insignificantly.
1:25:49 (2.5 sec. cut) Joe asks Ansel in this shot "What do you think?". The R-Rated Version features the question from the off in the following shot of Ansel.
1:26:03 (Alternate Shot) The R-Rated shows Joe talking in a longer shot of himself and then an alternative shot of Ansel sitting down on the bench. The original features two shots from further away showing Sharla during her forced blow job. The Unrated Version runs a bit longer.
1:26:34 (11 sec. cut) The shot of Ansel can be seen a moment longer. Joe then asks twice: "Reach around and grab my ass!". Sharla obeys.
1:26:56 (Alternate Shot (No time difference)) The R-Rated Version mainly shows the shot of Joe longer and the alternative shot of Ansel before the shot from further away can be seen for a short time. The latter can be seen the whole time in the Unrated Version.
1:27:20 (Alternate Shot) The R-Rated Version shows the previous and following shots of Joe longer/earlier, whereas the Unrated cuts to a close-up of Sharla complying with Joe's demands and starting to moan.
1:37:30 (1 sec. cut) The shot starts a bit earlier with an additional (first) blow of the can against Chris' head.
1:37:33 (1.5 sec.) Another blow is missing.
1:37:41 (4.5 sec.) Joe beats Chris with the can three more times against the head and in the face, Chris spits out blood. Additional shot of Dottie screaming "Oh God!".
1:42:47 (No time difference) The MPAA overlays at the end differ display the different rating for the two versions.
in a nut-shell: a wild, soaked-in-gasoline-on-fire film-noir
This is about... hmm... about a father and son who want to kill the mother of the family to collect the insurance money from her death, and hire a killer (also a cop) who decides to take 'as a retainer' the younger sister of the family while they come up with the cash to pay him. It's always refreshing when your first though when this ends is - where did THAT come from?
By far this is Matthew McConaughey's most WTF-bad-ass performance, with touches of Dennis Hopper in Blue Velvet and even Anton Chigurh. He's such a fantastic, seductive, snake-like villain here, because after the first couple of times you see him, you're not quite sure where he'll go. Friedkin takes this material into some VERY dark places (I imagine based off of the play, once again like 'Bug' from Tracy Letts), and if you aren't offended after the first ten minutes, you just gotta hang on for the rest of the ride. It's a twisted-f**k film-noir comedy of horrors where morality is so screwed that you have to laugh to not recoil from where it goes ultimately.
The ending had me howling with laughter, recoiling in pain, and just stunned by McConaughey suddenly shattering an image he's built up for himself over the past fifteen years as a rom-com hack. It's his film, along with the unlikely-attractive actress Juno Temple, who has a seduction scene with 'Killer Joe' that is edge-of-your-seat. For those of us sick- bastards looking for something off the wall, it's one of the must-sees of the year. Not as surreal as Blue Velvet, but not as poorly-crafted trash as a Grindhouse movie. It's in an area somewhere in-between, and I can't wait to see it again.
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