Killer Joe (2012)

[9.0]

William Friedkin (The Exorcist, The French Connection) directs this darkly comic trailer trash ensemble piece about a family that conspires to hire a killer to whack their matriarch and collect her life insurance. Matthew McConaughey delivers a tense, frightening, carefully measured performance as the title character. He deserves an Oscar nomination if the Academy has the balls to recognize such sinister fare. Gina Gershon, Emile Hirsch, Thomas Hayden Church, and Juno Temple are at the top of their game as the dysfunctional family, and the cinematography by Caleb Deschanel (The Natural) is also a stand-out. The film is rated NC-17 for full frontal nudity and intense violence. I’ll close by saying Killer Joe does for chicken legs what Psycho did for showers.

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