That chicken bone
No matter how you try to disguise it with some excuse about how “it’s on her terms” or “she’s above the lawful age limit” I think it’s exploitative and cynical and not that far off from child pornography. I’m not against showing teenagers as sexual beings; but when you show them in situations with me that are old enough to be their parents or grandparents and when it’s related as something enjoyable, with a voyeuristic camera, it’s just creepy.
Coming from this I should logically have hated Killer Joe here the young and innocent Dotty is offered by her own family to a hit man as a retainer until he gets full payment for a murder he’s hired to perform. Especially a seduction scene between him and her, where her “no”, “no”, “no” eventually turns into some kind of “yes” is extremely disturbing. But somehow, and I can’t quite explain how, the film managed to make me overlook this. I think the thing is that it’s so dark and twisted that my normal moral compass doesn’t apply anymore.
Right from the start when the young Chris shares his plan to have his mother murdered to get money from a life insurance, it’s evident that nothing that happens in the movie should be taken too seriously. And this is what makes it so good. Without the black comedic element I wouldn’t have liked it half as much; as a matter of fact I think it would have been unwatchable as a pure drama thriller. But as it is now, everything is just so weird and appalling that it tips over: rather than feeling sorry for this extraordinarily dysfunctional family, you shrug it off and laugh at them.
Apart from being darker and funnier than anything I’ve seen in a long time, I also need to mention something about the acting. There are several good performances, but the one who stands out is Matthew McConaughey, who is extraordinary as the hired killer: evil, menacing and yet somehow charming. It’s an act to remember, as is the scene with the chicken bone. You who have seen it know what I mean. It won’t go away anytime soon.
Good for me that I’ve always preferred the breast.
Killer Joe (William Friedkin, US 2012) My rating: 4/5