Killer Joe (2011)

I wonder how many roles Thomas Haden Church has had where he plays a white trash redneck. I seem to recall him in a similar role many, many times. Well, he plays the role often because he plays it well. It's not like the stink of playing The Sandman in that God-awful Spider-Man 3 movie follows him wherever he goes.

Enter Matthew McConaughey. He arrives into this struggling family's lives as the title character. He's a cop and a killer (not a cop killer, but it's possible he actually did kill a cop, we just know nothing about it. I mean, we get some back story, but it's not like we have his whole life story). This is a very different role than I'm used to seeing shirtless Matt in, and he actually pulls it off well.

The son of the family comes up with the idea of killing the estranged mother for the insurance money. As her beneficiary is the ditsy daughter, the family (complete with immodest stepmother) could pay the hitman (Matt) with the spoils when it's paid out. Everyone agrees that this is an amazing idea, and it's really surprising that no one has ever tried this kind of thing before, as it doesn't appear to have any downside.

Well, Matthew's character wants to be paid in advance, not surprisingly. The destitute family can't come up with the money, so the impressively creepy McConaughey decides that he will take a retainer of affection from the daughter (the pretty Juno Temple). The shy and somewhat slow daughter becomes a kind of obsession for Killer Joe, and the subsequent bad things that happen do nothing but reinforce his entrancement.

All in all, it's a fairly simple storyline, but the dialogue is pretty good, and the acting was very good. Seriously, I didn't expect most of the actors to do the job of developing their roles this well.

The story is pretty cut-and-dry.
The dialogue is, as I said, pretty good.
The acting was great.
The cinematography was good.
The direction was great.
The editing was good for the most part.

All told, it was a decent movie. It was a bit slow for my taste, and I wouldn't have seen it in a theater, but it's worth the Netflix rental.



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