By Hope and George
They snuck a whole additional DVD release date in this week, did you notice that? Sneaky bastards!
Well, the good news is that they are unleashing one of the year’s best and weirdest with their secret-second Christmas release. Today, film fans, today director William F. Friedkin offers something bold and nasty: Killer Joe. Matthew McConaughey plays the titular killer, a predator in a cowboy hat making deals with some Texas white trash. The deal goes haywire, and some crazy, mean, vividly depicted shit befalls those unthinking trailer folk.
Subdued, charming, merciless, weird, and oh-so-Southern, Joe scares the living hell out of any thinking person. Unfortunately, that doesn’t really describe the Smiths – an exquisitely cast Emile Hirsch, Juno Temple, Thomas Hayden Church and a flawless Gina Gershon. This is an ugly and unsettlingly funny film about compromises, bad ideas and bruised women. And it is the best thing Friedkin has done since The Exorcist.
If you enjoy it, try Friedkin’s 2006 White Trash Weirdness, Bug. Working for the first time with Tracy Letts, the playwright/scripter who also penned Killer Joe, Friedkin invites you into a world of paranoia, poverty, regret and tinfoil. Ashley Judd has never been better, playing a desperate waitress with a tragic past living in a cheap motel. She befriends a seriously damaged drifter – the creepy and wonderful Michael Shannon – and a nightmare unspools. Bug lacks the wrong-headed humor of Killer Joe, but it is an absorbing, bizarre, and beautifully executed ride.