Killer Joe

  • 18
  • William Friedkin (2011)
  • US
  • 98 min
Film Review
Reviewed By
2 out of 5

In this southern-fried thriller, cash-strapped Emile Hirsch cooks up a plan to kill his mother and collect on the insurance, but he gets in way over his head by hiring psychopathic detective Matthew McConaughey (the Joe of the title) to do the dirty deed. Needless to say, all does not run smoothly, and Chris's sweetly innocent sister Dottie (Juno Temple) soon becomes the object of Joe's perverse attentions. Leading man McConaughey certainly tears into the title role with full-blooded relish, yet as the final showdown approaches, the film revels in graphic violence seemingly for its own sake. The script by playwright (and Pulitzer Prize winner) Tracy Letts clearly flags itself as the blackest of comedy, yet there seems scant justification for the carnage on display, as veteran director William Friedkin goes overboard on shock value. Famed for The French Connection and The Exorcist, Friedkin remains an expert technician to this day, but it's difficult to understand his enthusiasm for this seemingly juvenile exercise in trailer-trash excess.

Plot Summary

A man heavily in debt to drug dealers plans to kill his mother and claim her life insurance. He hires a cop who moonlights as a hitman to carry out the job, but when he is unable to pay up front, the assassin claims his employer's sister as collateral. Comedy thriller, starring Matthew McConaughey, Emile Hirsch, Juno Temple and Thomas Haden Church.

Cast and crew


"Killer" Joe Cooper
Matthew McConaughey
Chris Smith
Emile Hirsch
Dottie Smith
Juno Temple
Ansel Smith
Thomas Haden Church
Sharla Smith
Gina Gershon
Digger Soames
Marc Macaulay


William Friedkin

Other Information

Theatrical distributor: 
E1 Entertainment
Violence, swearing, drug abuse, nudity.
Available on DVD and BluRay
Released 29 Jun 2012
Certificate 18

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