Film Review: KILLER JOE is a southern fried tale gone postal

Stefanie Alleyne, our host of hosts, meets up with the effervescent Bradley, a humanitarian of the artist kind, at the East Harlem family restaurant and sports bar, “Harley’s Smokeshack & BBQ,” to discuss the melodramatic and hysterical film noir, “Killer Joe.”

“Killer Joe,” is the latest collaboration between Academy Award winning director, William Friedkin (he of the “Exorcist” and “French Connection” fame) and screenwriter, Tracy Letts (winner of the Pulitzer Prize for Drama for the Broadway play “August: Osage County”). Based on Lett’s play of the same name, “Killer Joe” is deliciously wicked and backwoods rough and tough.  Director Friedkin has stated that he did not attempt to fight the NC-17 rating as it would obviously compromise their vision. Instead, it has turned out to be an unexpected marketing blessing. I, like so many, were curious to see what a NC-17 rating in 2012 is like in the hands of a master of shock and pushing things to the edge. Yes, there is nudity and a number of gruesome scenes (nothing you can’t catch on any cable channel after midnite any day of the week) but overall, it only adds oil to the flames of this blazin’ Texas tale. “Killer Joe” goes for your jugular within the first fifteen minutes and never lets go.

It is laden like gravy with deviously divine performances from the likes of young British actress Juno Temple, who plays so convincingly well, Dottie, a slightly daft Southern trailer park virgin and all that it implies; the fabulous Gina Gershon, who at 50-something looks amazing in the buff, plays her slippery busy bee of a step-mom; while Thomas Haden-Church, as a father and husband, is always up for the next scheme. Emile Hirsch plays her brother who lacks morals and is full of incestious fantasies and a very eerily dark Matthew McConaughey (who knew the “King of Rom Com” did bad so good?) gives a performance of a lifetime as none other than the hired gun with some serious issues of his own, the one and only, Killer Joe.

As I mentioned, there are a number of intense scenes within the film, but, one in particular has iconic cult status written all over it. When you have had a moment to digest it, you will either be running to the nearest KFC for a hot bucket of crispy fried bird or you will swear to never look in the Colonel’s direction for quite some time to come.  But, rest assured, there will be no sitting on the fence on this decision.

Even paced and fast moving, “Killer Joe” is both hilarious and absurd. The sad thing is, we all know or have come across stories (and way too many reality shows) that bear resemblance to this clan.  This is the Beverly Hillbillies on steroids minus the Beverly Hills. Considered Friedkin’s funniest film thus far, it has been accused of maintaining it’s staged, theatre feel rather than fully embracing the world of cinema. But, I say it’s a buck-wild ride you won’t want to miss. Grab a seat and buckle up, buckaroos!

More About our Fabulous Panel

Born and raised in lower Manhattan, Bradley has always had an interest in the arts. She is a humanitarian, a civil rights activist and founder of BW’s Love Letters, a line of customized greeting cards.



Check out more about Harley’s Smokeshack & BBQ!







Find out more about the straight-with-no-chaser film noir,  “Killer Joe.”







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