Remember when William Friedkin made interesting, visceral, and coolly brilliant films that both tapped into and helped direct the cultural zeitgeist? Films like The Boys in the Band, The French Connection and The Exorcist? After experiencing a 20 year nadir with films like Jade and The Hunted, Friedkin returned in 2007 with the small, off-kilter Bug. And though Bug worked well, it’s the trailer for Killer Joe, his newest film, that seems to be announcing Friedkin’s true return to form.
The story of a young man (Emile Hirsch), so deeply indebted to a drug lord that his life is at stake, hires Joe (Matthew McConaughey), a police officer moonlighting as a hired killer, to murder his mother (Gina Gershon) so that he and his sister (Juno Temple) can get their hands on the insurance money. Things go awry, however, when the charmingly sociopathic Joe decides to take Temple as collateral on the job, and a bizarre kind of romance seems to bloom between the killer and his hostage.
While it all sounds a bit wacky, the trailer sells it well, and Friedkin is never better than when taking his characters and dropping them in violent, extraordinary circumstances. Also, McConaughey has completely dropped his smirky rom-com coasting mode and is actually acting again—definitely worth a look.
It’s easy to see why Killer Joe has had such a protracted battle with the MPAA (it’s been slapped with an NC-17 rating); that said, it looks like there may be no reason not to see Killer Joe when it hits theaters on July 27.
What did you think of the trailer?