UK Release date: 29th June 2012
Watched on DVD Sunday 11th August 2013.
PLEASE NOTE: THERE MAY BE UNINTENTIONAL SPOILERS IN THIS REVIEW.
This is another film I didn’t know all that much about before viewing. Aside from the fact that Matthew McConaughey’s performance was very well received, I have managed to stay pretty well free from spoilers on this one. Very violent in places with some very dark comedy, I found it a pretty good watch. Here’s a very brief summary before I give you my thoughts.
Chris Smith (Emile Hirsch) finds he owes Digger Soames (Marc Macaulay) a large amount of money when Chris’s mother steals his drug stash. He seeks the help of his father, Ansel (Thomas Haden Church) and stepmother Sharla (Gina Gershon) when he hears his mother has a life insurance policy. The plan is to hire a cop, Killer Joe Cooper (Matthew McConaughey), to murder his mom and make it look like an accident. The Insurance policy is due to pay out to Chris’s little sister, Dottie (Juno Temple). But there’s a stumbling block; they don’t have the money to pay Joe up front. Fortunately for them, Joe has taken a bit of a shine to Dottie and decides to take her as his retainer. Chris reluctantly agrees to this, but none of them feels comfortable breaking the news to Dottie on the night she is supposed to get together with Joe. Will she go along with it? Will Joe hold up his end of the bargain before Digger’s thugs get a hold of Chris? Will it all go according to plan or is there a further twist or two in the tale? These and many more questions to be answered.
Because it’s based on a play the action does all seem to occur in one place; predominantly the Smith family trailer. I didn’t find this too distracting but I did find it a little claustrophobic at times. All of the performances were truly excellent but I have to say the critics were right; Matthew McConaughey really does stand out in this one. There are some really violent scenes in this one so I definitely wouldn’t recommend it for younger viewers; the 18 Certificate is definitely more than a guideline here. I really liked the underlying dark humour throughout; it gave the narrative a little more interest. Over all, an interesting watch with some nice touches; it doesn’t have any particularly stunning effects but it’s a well crafted character-driven piece. Well worth a look if you get the chance.
SteelMonster’s verdict: RECOMMENDED
My score: 7.7/10.
IMDb Score: 6.8/10 (based on 33,600 votes when this review was written).
MetaScore: 62/100: (Based on 38 critic reviews provided by Metacritic.com at the time of going to press).
Rotten Tomatoes ‘Audience’ Score: 61/100 (based on 76,768 user ratings counted at the time of going to press).
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