One of the problems with being a film critic and seeing so many movies is that you aren't always seeing them in the right frame of mind. I rarely get to watch new releases when I feel like it. I see them when they're screened, either for the press or at a film festival. In the case of 'Killer Joe', I saw it almost a year ago at the Toronto Film Festival at 9:00 PM after three other films. Not optimal. My point is, sometimes I blow it. And after giving this a second screening, it seems this is one of those times. It's much better than I original gave it credit.
A son (Emile Hirsch) conspires with his father (Thomas Haden Church), his step-mom (Gina Gershon), and his younger sister (Juno Temple) to have his mom killed for the insurance money. Basically this white trash family is as dysfunctional as it gets. And then, enter Killer Joe (Matthew McConaughey).
Initially, aside from being too tired to appreciate it, I was extremely turned off by the gratuitous violence and gore. Similar to 'Drive', the film gets exponentially and unnecessarily bloody as it goes along. But unlike 'Drive', all of the performances here more than make up for it. (All due respect to my man, Albert Brooks, who was damn good in 'Drive', aside.) Everyone in the cast is tremendous, and McConaughey in particular delivers one of the most engaging performances of the year. So, if you're a fan of 'Drive' and/or you like violent tales of dysfunctional white trash families and don't mind gratuitous violence and gore (i.e. you're a sick #@$% like me) then this one's right up your alley. And trust me, you'll never look at KFC the same way again.