KILLER JOE

The scene that anyone who sees this will remember for the rest of their lives is so nasty, so dirty, so pornographic, so obscene, so funny and so shocking that it almost blots out one’s memory of the other hour and a half. But in fact, director William Friedkin (at 77 showing the same late-in-life energy as John Huston and Sidney Lumet) has turned a talky play into a noir thriller that feels created for the screen. Some of the longer dialog passages sound rooted in the original, but the creation itself is so funny and unsettling, the characters so in-your-face, you can’t get enough. Did I say in-your-face? An extreme close-up of Gina Gershon’s pubic bush fills the screen at the beginning. It nicely bookends the blood-soaked denouement — preceded by that scene, which does for fried chicken what LAST TANGO IN PARIS did for butter.  Matthew McConaughey finds a whole new definition of mean in a way that fully justifies Juno Temple’s complaint to him, “Your eyes hurt”. Gershon disappears into her part, with an Amy Winehouse look and a character that pinballs from go-fuck-yourself to bloody pulp. Emile Hirsch and the astonishing Thomas Haden Church are two types of losers (not to mention father and son). You know all of them are going to end up badly from the get-go. But you have no idea just how badly. This movie is killer. — Jeff Schultz

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