"Perverse People Placed in a Pretty Perverse Plot"
What You Need To Know:
KILLER JOE contains graphic scenes of violence, brutality, sex, and nudity. It’s a perverse black comedy with an extremely perverse ending. It presents a proctologist’s view of the American family. Even when one of the characters tries to do the right thing, they get beaten half to death and shot dead by accident. Based on a surprisingly acclaimed 1995 play, KILLER JOE is an abhorrent, sickening, nasty, depressing piece of work.
(HHH, C, AbAbAb, APAP, LLL, VVV, SSS, NNN, AA, DD, MMM) Very strong humanist worldview with some light Christian content that, however, is accompanied by what seems to be a highly ironic tone because, at the very least, the faith involved is hypocritical, plus movie shows the underbelly of American life with no balance; at least 63 obscenities (including many “f” and “s” words), 10 strong profanities, five light profanities; extreme violence includes man gets severe beating with kicks and punches, man has severe bruises on his face and arms, character’s head repeatedly hit with a large can of food until face and head is bloodied to a pulp, character shot dead, man punches woman hard in the face and it becomes severely bloodied with her nose obviously broken, dead body in car trunk is moved to driver’s seat and car set on fire, car explodes, threats of death, sexual abuse of woman; extreme sexual content includes man forces 20-year-old woman who looks and acts 14 or 15 to strip completely naked and put her arms around him, man forces older woman to perform simulated oral sex with a chicken leg and lingering camera shows man getting excited about it, implied adultery, implied fornication, half naked women shown dancing in strip bar, and hints of incestuous feelings between a brother and sister on the brother’s part but nothing explicit; full female nudity in two scenes, upper female nudity, upper male nudity, brief rear male nudity, and photo of man’s private parts is flashed but it’s done so quickly that not much is really seen; alcohol use and drunkenness; smoking cigarettes and marijuana and references to heroine, cocaine, and selling drugs; and, extremely dysfunctional family, cheating, lying, betrayal, deceit, and family members don’t think much of each other.
KILLER JOE is one of the more despicable NC-17 movies released so far. It’s an ultra-violent drama about pretty despicable people. Even when one character tries to do the right thing, they get beaten half to death and shot dead by accident.
In the story, a 22-year-old would be drug dealer in Dallas, Chris, is in debt to his supplier. He proposes to his father, Ansel, and 20-year-old sister, Dottie (who looks and acts like she’s 14 or 15), that they hire a hitman to kill Ansel’s first wife, their mother, to get her life insurance money. Apparently, the mother is pretty mean to everyone, although it’s never explained how. The insurance money goes to Dottie, or so they all think.
Into the picture steps Killer Joe, a creepy, crazy cop who moonlights as a contract killer. Chris and Ansel can’t afford to pay Killer Joe a retainer. So, Joe asks them to provide Dottie as “collateral.” Amazingly, they accept his proposal.
It soon becomes clear to everyone that Joe has not only seduced Dottie’s body but also her emotions. Dottie begins to see Joe as her ticket out of this disturbed family. Chris (who may or may not have some perverse feelings of his own toward his sister) begins to have second thoughts about the whole thing, even after the drug supplier’s thugs beat Chris up and demand the money he owes or his life. Everything comes to a head at the father’s trailer when Joe begins to question the motives of Ansel’s second wife, who just happens to be sleeping with the first wife’s second husband.
KILLER JOE contains graphic scenes of violence, brutality, sex, and nudity. It’s a perverse black comedy with an extremely perverse ending. Based on a 1995 play by award winning playwright Tracy Letts, KILLER JOE is an abhorrent, sickening, nasty, depressing piece of work. Like – apparently – the other plays by Mr. Letts, it presents a proctologist’s view of the American family. Even the movie’s lighter, more comical parts are somewhat, if not totally, perverse.