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Killer Joe (18)

Killer Joe (18)

Crime, Drama, Thriller

When a debt puts a young man's life in danger, he turns to putting a hit out on his evil mother in order to collect the insurance.

The critical consensus

Twisted, tense and trashy, it’s glorious fun.

****(*)James Mottram, The List, 12/06/2012

From Gina Gershon’s pubic hair onwards, it’s clear Friedkin’s appetite for provocation has not dimmed, and the veteran director’s eye is as sharp as ever.

***(*)(*)John Nugent, The Skinny, 20/06/2012

Virtually from the opening scene – a ludicrous full-frontal shot of Gershon – to the hyper-violent finale, the 76-year-old Friedkin throws everything at the characters, riffing a little on his back catalogue (the tautness of The French Connection, the shock of The Exorcist, the scuzziness of Cruising) to deliver his most vital film in years.

****(*)Alistair Harkness, The Scotsman, 19/06/2012

Friedkin’s unflinching trailer-park noir features ugly characters, game performances, degradation and the obscene abuse of a chicken drumstick. Highly recommended, then.

****(*)Matt Mueller, Total Film, 20/06/2012

Sickeningly violent, Bad Lieutenant bonkers, but undeniably compelling.

****(*)Alison Rowat, The Herald, 21/06/2012

It’s a very guilty pleasure indeed, a comic book heightened reality of one half of the American Dream, the one that’s going rapidly down in flames.

****(*)Dylan Matthew, Edinburgh Guide, 21/06/2012

This is a vibrant, well paced piece of work from a director who really knows what he’s doing.

Ross Maclean, STV, 22/06/2012

Killer Joe is a piece of southern gothic that has the corkscrew turns of a mainstream thriller, but it’s the shifting, hyped-up relationships that keep you hooked, along with the way it toys with ornaments of American life from the family unit to southern fried chicken.

****(*)Siobhan Synnot, The Scotsman, 23/06/2012

The positively Jacobean climax, which earns the film its 18 certificate and then some, finds an imaginative use for takeaway southern-fried chicken that is perhaps even more revolting than eating it.

***(*)(*)Robbie Collin, The Telegraph, 26/06/2012

Family dysfunction to make Jeremy Kyle blush, but thanks to McConaughey’s oily power and Friedkin’s unflinching purpose it’s a compelling beast.

***(*)(*)Ian Nathan, Empire Online, 26/06/2012

Killer Joe sets the scene for a killer noir, with some killer lines and killer characters, but Friedkin's energy and determination to wrest the story away from the stage and set it free in the cinema deserts him in the final act.

***(*)(*)Peter Bradshaw, The Guardian, 28/06/2012

Adapted from his own play by Tracy Letts, the film twists itself into fine knots of sump-black comedy.

***(*)(*)Anthony Quinn, The Independent, 29/06/2012

The film becomes unintentionally funny by the grotesque closing stretch.

**(*)(*)(*)Allan Hunter, Daily Express, 29/06/2012

Aside from Joe, the characters are not convincing and the story makes an ill-advised swerve into blood and splatter.

***(*)(*)David Edwards, Daily Record, 29/06/2012

Lovely to see Friedkin on such mischievous form and McConaughey finally revealing his dark side.

David Jenkins, Little White Lies, 28/06/2012

The actors are tremendous, and there's a dizzying script by Tracy Letts, a Pulitzer-winning playwright. His perverse sitcom can't quite transcend its off-Broadway origins, but not many plays have such a remarkable cast … or a climax that's so certain to make you lose your appetite.

Nicolas Barber, The Independent, 01/07/2012

Revels in evil and lacks any sprightliness that might have redeemed its twisted characters, all of whom are loathsome and stupid.

Jason Solomons, The Observer, 01/07/2012

What follows is a twisted, well acted and quite compelling comedy of errors, until a brutal, over-extended finale leaves a very sour taste.

***(*)(*)Henry Fitzherbert, Daily Express, 04/07/2012

Features about Killer Joe (18)

William Friedkin talks Killer Joe: interview

Matt Maytum, Total Film, 26/06/2012

Where and when?

General release. Check local listings for show times.

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