A bright assistant D.A. investigates a gruesome hatchet murder and hides a clue he found at the crime scene. Under professional threats and an attempt on his life, he goes on heartbroken because evidence point to the woman he still loves.
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.
In one scene Dottie asks if Joe is a detective like Magnum PI. Matthew McConaughey was in the running for playing Magnum PI in a big budget movie remake of the series in 2007, as of 2012 the project is dead in the water. See more »
When Joe attacks Chris in the trailer, he picks up a can of food. He has his palm across the top of the can. In following shots, he has his hand around the side of the can. See more »
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.
Equal parts hilarious, vile, and demented, elevated by top-notch performances across the board led by a magnetic McConaughey.
Killer Joe is a roller-coaster of a movie. At first it seems like a dark comedy, then a crime drama plot starts to uncover, and by the end it becomes downright terrifying. I'm a sucker for these kinds of movies and Killer Joe absolutely nails everything it goes for. This kind of story couldn't be pulled off without the right director. Thankfully William Friedkin knocks it out of the park. You can smell the white trash emanating from the screen. Every detail of every action is given the right amount of attention; every shot has purpose. Not one second is gone to waste. And in order for a story like this to truly resonate you'd need competent actors, and I don't think you could find a more perfect cast for Killer Joe if you tried. McConaughey is absolutely mesmerizing as this badass detective who's a hit-man on the side. The story revolves around a trailer trash family and their plan to exploit an insurance policy on the husband's ex-wife because the son got wrapped up in a bad drug deal, so they hire Killer Joe to do the job. Little do they know, Killer Joe does not f*ck around.
It's a graphic movie but it's not gratuitous. There's a reason for everything that is shown. And the narrative slowly builds to an explosive climax that leaves you flabbergasted. Seriously, the final scene in this movie which is about 10 minutes long, is absolutely phenomenal. Shocking, riveting, unsettling. Matthew McConaughey is downright villainous in this role. It's hard to call him a "villain" because he's straightforward in his motivations, much like it's hard to call the family the "heroes" because they're a bunch of moronic assholes, except the daughter who just doesn't know any better. The line between good and evil is blurred to the point of nonexistence, with Joe epitomizing this duality being the half detective half gun-for-hire hard-ass that he is. It's quite poetic, really. The characters in this movie are scum, and they all get what's coming to them.
Killer Joe is a lot of things, but one thing it's not is scatterbrained. It's entirely focused and cohesive. All the genres it glosses over fit right into this depraved story arc, and it grips you to the screen from beginning to end. This movie certainly isn't for everyone, but if you can stomach Killer Joe, you won't soon forget it.
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