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 Hirsch's sweetly innocent sister (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 unnecessarily in graphic violence. The script by playwright (and Pulitzer Prize winner) Tracy Letts clearly flags itself as the blackest of comedies, 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

Crime thriller starring Matthew McConaughey and Emile Hirsch. After his own mother steals his stash, drug dealer Chris Smith finds himself in a desperate situation. However, he learns that his mum has a life-insurance policy that will pay out $50,000 on her death. So Chris decides to secure the services of Joe Cooper, a detective with a sideline as a contract killer.

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, nudity, drug abuse.
Available on DVD and BluRay
Released 29 Jun 2012
Certificate 18