From director William Friedkin (French Connection, Rules of Engagement, The Exorcist), Killer Joe premiered at TIFF (T.oronto I.nternational F.ilm F.estival) last year and was recently slapped with an NC-17 rating by the MPAA. That they’re sending it out to theaters with the NC-17 still intact is enough to have me intrigued.
When 22-year-old Chris (Emile Hirsch) finds himself in debt to a drug lord, he hires a hit man to dispatch his mother, whose $50,000 life insurance policy benefits his sister Dottie (Juno Temple). Chris finds Joe Cooper (Matthew McConaughey), a creepy, crazy Dallas cop who moonlights as a contract killer. When Chris can’t pay Joe upfront, Joe sets his sight on Dottie as collateral for the job. The contract killer and his hostage develop an unusual bond. Like from a modern-day, twisted fairy tale, “Killer Joe” Cooper becomes the prince to Dottie’s Cinderella. Based on the play by Pulitzer and Tony Award winner Tracy Letts, stars Emile Hirsch, Matthew McConaughey, Juno Temple, Thomas Hayden Church, and Gina Gershon. [Apple]
Apparently, the end of the film is the clincher and also the main reason for the NC-17. [JoBlo]
It’s hard to tell what makes it NC-17 from the trailer, other than that Juno Temple and Gina Gershon never wear bras, but I imagine that was just part McConaughey’s contract rider.
Looking at RottenTomatoes, the reviews are overwhelmingly positive, though the one negative one comes from our buddy Laremy Legel. He gave it a D+, saying “Less about storytelling than depravity …”, which actually seems right up our alley.
Also, I believe this marks the first time Matthew McConaughey has ever referenced “tuna casserole” and had it not be a euphemism. Alright alright alright. (*bongos*)
Opens in limited release July 27th.