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George At 

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Killer Joe


Are you ready for sick and twisted?

Are you ready to never look at your drumsticks from KFC quite the same way again?

There might be no way to prepare yourself for this profane, dark, hilarious, demented, depressing and sick thriller from two great minds.

The first great mind is the screenwriter, Tracy Letts, who I had the true privilege of seeing on stage in his brilliant "August Osage County". It is my all time favorite play, a three hour thrill ride through one family's depraved lineage as they tear each other apart emotionally, limb from limb. The verbal genius on display in that three hour stage masterpiece (now being filmed with Julia Roberts and Meryl Streep in lead roles) is also in full view here, with Letts' one-liners and verbal assaults peppering the screen.

The second mind is William Friedkin, the director "The Exorcist" & "The French Connection" who has never considered subtle one of his directing tools.

Matthew McConaughey is very good as Killer Joe Cooper, a Texas detective and part time professional hitman for hire. Emile Hirsch is Chris Smith, a young man who's only luck is bad luck, scheming for a way to payback a bad drug deal to a local crime boss. The less you know going in beyond that, the better. Thomas Hayden Church is excellent as Chris' really dumb Dad and Gina Gershon bares literally all as Chris' stepmom from hell.

When Killer Joe takes Chris' sister Dottie (Juno Temple) as collateral on a contract, things really begin to spin out of control.

This is a really funny movie at times, but it's certainly not a mainstream comedy, it is JET black.

If the profanity, full frontal nudity, violence and depravity of the first ten minutes don't scare you off, don't worry, the last 15 minutes was jaw dropping for me.

Friedkin and Letts seem committed to seeing how far they can take you past all the limits of good taste and while my first reaction was an urge to discard the whole movie because of what will forever be knows as the KFC scene, the sheer power of the Tarantino style, distinctly Letts dialogue won me back. The final thirty seconds is nothing short of shocking and hilarious.

If you get offended easily or even not so easily, I would tell you not to check out Killer Joe. But if you like your dark comedy thrillers Tarantino violent, vulgar and brilliantly written, Tracy Letts has cooked up quite a meal for you here.

Go ahead, don't be chicken! A-

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