This review of “Killer Joe” fell through the cracks, so here it is for your perusal and probably displeasure.
Matthew McConaughey has been on a quiet winning streak beginning with his impressive turn in The Lincoln Lawyer, continuing with Bernie, Magic Mike, and now, Killer Joe. It’s as if he’s atoning for all the bad romantic comedies and action pictures he made following Dazed and Confused.
In Killer Joe, he’s the title character, a Dallas cop who moonlights as a contract killer. Based on the evidence seen here, Joe is very good at his job and McConaughey plays him with a seriousness that’s icily effective. When Joe’s speaking in measured tones he’s at his most eerie, and he backs up those words with shocking violence.
The halfwit Smith family (Emile Hirsch, Juno Temple, Thomas Haden Church and Gina Gershon) hires Joe for a killing and finds out the hard way what happens when he doesn’t get paid. There’s not much more to it.
The final scene is brutal—pumpkin pie filling and fried chicken will never look the same—though not enough to warrant an NC-17. Perhaps the puritanical MPAA doesn’t like the way Temple’s Dottie is more or less sold to Joe and enjoys it, sex and all. Director William Friedkin, whose To Live and Die in L.A. is more extreme, is back in his wheelhouse.