I didn’t know this was originally a Tracy Letts play until I was already in the theater; I mostly went because I heard it was very good and creepy Matthew McConaughey was creepy (and one of my people, who does not care for him, was convinced that this was ideal for him) and also I had never seen an NC-17 movie in theaters before. The Tracy Letts factor really added to my enjoyment, however.
I can’t say a terrible lot about this movie without just spoiling it to hell. There’s a family (husband/dad Thomas Haden Church, wife/stepmom Gina Gershon, son Emile Hirsch, daughter Juno Temple) and they live in a trailer park. Because of complicated money issues, they decide the greatest plan ever would be to take out a killing contract on Wife #1, not really seen, and collect the life insurance; they hire Killer Joe (Matthew McConaughey) to do this.
And I will break my usual trying-not-to-drop-super-bomby-swear-words-here thing, because the only way to describe this movie is they are fucked-up people, and then a lot of fucked-up shit happens.
Seriously, they were almost all awful. I didn’t like any of them except (predictably) Juno Temple’s Dottie, who was kind of like a cross between the prototypical Lolita and Luna Lovegood but a little more questionable-crazy (in effect, sort of what I imagine a corporeal Miss Edith might be like, if she was eighteen and in a trailer park); I wasn’t sure I loved what they did with her role in the plot, and often wanted to punch everyone for relating to her how they did, but the ending helped.
But gosh, everyone else was just heinous and unlikable. I was expecting the NC-17 to come from the violence — I mean, it’s called Killer Joe, you’d think there would be more onscreen killing. I realize this statement makes me sound maladjusted. No, basically this movie is rated NC-17 for what a sick twist the titular character is. There’s one scene in particular, not of killing but of extreme grossness, that is stomach-turning and definitely not something I am comfortable with, but it was almost definitely the cause of the rating.
Oh, and the ending. Like I said, it helped. It was shocking, but not in the way you might think necessarily.
I don’t know if I can actually advise anyone to see this movie; I mean, it was well-done, if disturbed, but because it was so very disturbed, I can’t in good conscience tell other people to watch it. It is a terrifying study of completely awful people doing completely awful things with no redeeming moments whatsoever, and it’s not gory as expected, but wow. Again, fucked-up shit.
–your fangirl heroine.