Sep 8, 2013

Killer Joe




Undoubtedly, if I were to sum up American New Wave ‘auteur’ William Friedkin (The French Connection, Sorcerer) and his greatest talent as a filmmaker, the best compliment I could possibly give him is that he is one of the best, if not the best, exploitation filmmakers who ever lived as a macabre vaudevillian magician-like director who is able to give a certain degree of class and cleverness to celluloid trash, turning gratuitous sex and violence into pure style with seeming substance and, undoubtedly, with his latest work Killer Joe (2011), he takes this to new extremes and excess in terms of bad ass, bad taste. Taking Fagsploitation to new homo-inciting extremes with The Boys in the Band (1970) and Cruising (1980), getting away with a possessed teenage girl pounding her own pussy with a crucifix with his Catholicsploitation The Exorcist (1973), romanticizing crime from both sides of the law in The French Connection (1971) and To Live and Die in L.A. (1985), and taking the white trash family feud to more hospitable yet hopeless and thematically horrendous extremes with his new effort Killer Joe, kosher king of celluloid criminality William Friedkin is probably the only filmmaker, aside from Quentin Tarantino, who proves that big budget exploitation films can be made in Hollywood and that exploitation films can reach a sort of creative and entertainment equilibrium where every second of the film can be masterfully directed and singularly interesting, as opposed to the average 42nd Street Grindhouse movie of the 1970s where, aside from a couple scattered scenes, most of the work is totally disposable and without a shred of aesthetic or intellectual merit. Well into his 70s as one of the rare few from his generation who continues to craft innovative and controversial works, Friedkin is a unique, elderly filmmaker whose age does not reveal itself in his work, especially in regard to his aesthetically sadistic Southern Gothic blacker-than-a-sunburnt-Somalian-in-blackface black comedy Killer Joe, a superlatively seedy piece of trailer park tragicomedy based on a novel-turned-screenplay penned by Pulitzer Prize winner Tracy Letts where redemption and hope have been buried beneath an excess of untermensch waste in an overflowing Texas porter potty. The uniquely morally unredeeming tale of a swarthy, debt-ridden deadbeat white trash boy in his early 20s who plots with his half-retarded father and his wife to have a crooked psychopathic cop who moonlights as a contract killer kill his mother so he can inherit the insurance money, Killer Joe is a country-fried work of perversely and perniciously playful poverty porn Texan neo-noir where shockingly stupid decisions, inbred inborn bad luck, sex perversion of the criminal and incestuous sort, and undiagnosed personality disorders ultimately make for god damn deadly dumb ass circumstances. Sort of like the film Flannery O'Connor may have directed today were she alive in the modern era, and a filmmaker instead of a novelist and a totally nasty nihilist instead of a Roman Catholic, Killer Joe features such a revolting and singularly ugly depiction of Southern ladies and gentlemen that the film could have never worked without a strong farcical flavor of the neo-Southern Gothic variety. 



 Dumb ass degenerate 22-year-old drug dealer Chris Smith’s (Emile Hirsch) equally no class white trash mother Adele stole all of his cocaine, so he must come up with the money to pay back his lunatic redneck loan shark boss or face a very violent death, so he decides killing his coke-snatching mommy will be his best bet since, aside from deserving to die, she has a $50,000 insurance policy. Although a total loser and magnificently moronic individual who flagrantly fails at everything he tries, Chris is nowhere near as intellectually impoverished as his seemingly brain-damaged father Ansel (Thomas Haden Church), so it does not take much for the boy to convince his pa to become involved with a criminal conspiracy to kill Adele because, after all, she is the man’s trailer park queen bitch of an ex-wife. Although a large man of reasonably immense muscle mass, Ansel is a cowardly cuckold who has no problem allowing his wife Sharla (Gina Gershon) to walk around his son with her greasy ebony beaver hanging out, so naturally his wife is made a silent partner in the criminal conspiracy as well. Assuming the insurance money will be given to his pixie-like teenage sister Dottie (Juno Temple), Chris ultimately has to split the money four ways, minus the $20,000 he has to pay police detective/contract killer “Killer” Joe Cooper (Matthew McConaughey) to kill his momma. A suave psychopath and Svengali-like Texan gentleman who dresses to impress and gives new meaning to the phrase ‘tall, dark, and handsome,’ Killer Joe hates deadbeats and bullshitters and can immediately smell such an unsavory sake-of-shit stench from Chris, and when the down-and-out drug dealer says he does not have the money upfront to pay for the contract killing upon their initial meeting, the creepily cold but cool-as-a-corpse cop essentially tells him to go fuck himself and pretend they never met. Somewhat surprisingly, Killer Joe changes his mind after remembering a brief meeting with sister Dottie and makes the deal with Chris and Ansel that he gets to keep the boy’s sis as a retainer until he gets paid for his sinister services. A discernibly mentally unbalanced and seemingly semi-autistic lass who has been known to have imaginary romances with fat boys she has never spoke to (what she calls “pure love”), who creepily sleepwalks like a sassy schizophrenic somnambulist, and is eerily able to predict events before they happen in an almost clairvoyant-like manner, Dottie, in a strange sort of way makes for the perfect match for Killer Joe, who essentially falls in love with her at first sight and wastes no time deflowering her on their first date at the Smith Family mobile home. 



Unfortunately, trouble in trailer park paradise begins to stir when Chris, who has intense incestuous feelings for his sister as insinuated throughout Killer Joe, decides he wants to call off the contract killing of his mom, so he can spare his little sis sexual slavery and keep her to himself, but unfortunately Joe has already done the hit and he forces the prodigal son Chris to help him get rid of momma Adele’s corpse in a body-blasting car explosion in front of some bourgeois redneck BBQ restaurant. Rather unfortunately, after everything is said and done, and Adele's incinerated body parts are buried six feet under, it turns out the mangled matriarch did not leave the insurance money to her daughter Dottie, but her conspiring deadbeat boyfriend Rex, the same man that initially put the idea of killing off his girlfriend in the unwitting mind of pawn Chris. Being a masterful police detective, Killer Joe does some serious detective work, learning that perennial cuck idiot Ansel’s conspiring cunt of a wife Sharla had an affair with Rex and convinced him to split the insurance money with him, which turned out to be $100,000 instead of $50,000 (the money is doubled in cases of accidental death). Knowing that the cocaine cowboy drug dealer he owes money to, Digger Soames (Marc Macaulay), plans to kill him and that Killer Joe probably will as well, Chris makes plans to run away to the south of the border and has convinced his beloved sister Dottie to come along with him. Meanwhile, Killer Joe confronts Ansel and Sharla at the Smith Family trailer and plays a game of physical and psychological torture against them. After Killer Joe reveals to Sharla that he knows about her scheme with Rex (who he alludes to having killed), the crazy cop beats the conniving slut to a bloody pulp and forces her to perform a simulated blowjob with a greasy fried chicken leg, which, as the sexually sadistic detective notes, she does like a true cocksucking champ and seasoned slut. Of course, seeing as his wife cuckolded him and cheated on him with his ex-wife’s boyfriend, not to mention created a conspiracy to cheat the entire Smith family out of the insurance money, Ansel watches passively as Sharla is devastatingly degraded. Killer Joe makes the unflinching ultimatum to Ansel and Sharla that if they do not stop Chris from taking Dottie away, he will slaughter the entire family like pigs. When Chris inevitably shows up to pick up Dottie, a brawl breaks out and Ansel and Sharla attack Chris while Killer Joe proceeds to beat the boy to death. During all the commotion, Dottie, who is clearly out of her already fragile mind, picks up Chris’ gun and ultimately shoots her brother and father. While pointing the gun at Killer Joe, Dottie tells her equally loony lunatic lover that she is pregnant and he will be a baby daddy. Killer Joe concludes in ambiguity, but if one thing it is for sure that Dottie’s demon seed spawn will continue the white trash Smith/Cooper family legacy as the genetically tainted progeny of two unhinged hick Texans whose warped idea of romance is only transcended by their proclivity to go on violent murder rampages. 



While it would be easy and tempting to peg William Friedkin as a typical Aryan-hating Hebrew in Hollywood who takes any opportunity to denigrate whites like many of his kinsmen in Hollywood, Killer Joe hardly seems like a piece of suavely stylized bolshevik-esque agitprop but the work of a man with an unhealthy affinity for the darker sides of humanity as demonstrated by past friendships with mafia members and his entire oeuvre, which contains a number of politically incorrect films, including Cruising (1980), which inspired hate campaigns among militant gays, who went as far as attempting to interfere with the film’s shooting and staging various protests. As revealed in an article at the site jewishjournal.com conducted with William Friedkin about Killer Joe and regarding the director’s patently pathological obsession with violence and human depravity, “he began the conversation with a surprising revelation about his penchant for extreme plots and characters: “I could have been a very violent person,” the 76-year-old filmmaker said of his childhood. “I had no sense of right and wrong.” Despite the influence of Hebrew school and his loving parents, Jewish immigrants from the Ukraine, he said, “my peer pressure was such that I was involved in armed robberies as a young teenager.” Of course, Friedkin was not the only Judaic involved with the making of Killer Joe as Emile Hirsch (of partial Ashkenazi extraction) and Gina Gershon are also Israelites, thus making the cinematic work a somewhat kosher piece of country fried comically-inclined crime grit. Sadistically stylized celluloid southwestern sleaze with a dried up and decidedly dead desert lonestar heart, Killer Joe is like the Tennessee Williams’penned classic Baby Doll (1956) meets the Coen brothers’ Blood Simple (1984) meets The Texas Chainsaw Massacre 2 (1986) meets Friedkin’s own Bug (2007), with a little bit of Lynch’s Blue Velvet (1986) thrown in for good measure. Maybe it is because I never cared much for The Exorcist (1973), but I do not think it is a stretch to say that Killer Joe is easily Friedkin’s best film since Cruising. An unflattering allegory for everything that is distinctly and degenerately American as a cleverly crafted piece of sick and salacious celluloid sleaze directed by an elderly Hebrew and starring Semite stars in the dubious roles of America’s dirtiest of white trash genetic turds, Killer Joe reflects a perennially medieval-minded peasant people with next to nil class or culture, but a sick obsession with procuring soulless sex and blood money at any cost, including matricide/familicide. A rare contemporary cinematic work that allows the viewer to laugh at the fact the world's greatest (former) world power is populated by beer-chugging, monster-truck-loving, money-grubbing morons and maniacs whose shortsightedness is only transcended by their lack of intrinsic values of any and every sort, Killer Joe is also a potent reminder of why America can be so easily run by criminals and/or foreigners and why the Southwest might as well be given back to Mexico.  Featuring foul femme fatales of the tactless sort who con the boyfriends of their husband's ex-wife, shadowy trailer park alleyways illuminated only by busted lights, hardboiled hick crime melodrama of the irredeemable variety, and creamy c(o)unt-ry fried-kin cynicism and no hope for the hopelessly stupid, Killer Joe is the radical result of what happens when a blue-collar Jewish celluloid chef is put in charge of cooking up Southern Gothic film noir in the age of the Amero-pocalypse.



-Ty E

7 comments:

jervaise brooke hamster said...

I want to bugger Juno Temple, that bird is quite stunning.

jervaise brooke hamster said...

I liked the picture of the bird showing her twat but i did NOT repeat NOT like the picture of McConaughey naked, YUK, thats put me off wanking for 3 or 4 days.

jervaise brooke hamster said...

I`ve always liked Friedkin for his rampaging heterosexuality, i just wish he was a bit more homo-phobic than he appears to be.

Jennifer Croissant said...

I`d been waiting quite a few months for this reveiw, it was worth the wait, pure brilliance.

jervaise brooke hamster said...

Why couldn`t you have shown a picture of Juno Temple without her clothes on, bending over, and pulling her bum open ! ?. That bird is so fucking astonishing.

eddie lydecker said...

I still think The Exorcist is one of the best films of the 70`s, why not reveiw it, just for a laugh ! ?.

teddy crescendo said...

The original "Wages of Fear" was a ludicrously over-rated piece of European art-house horse-shit, but Friedkins remake "Sorcerer" was ludicrously under-rated and close to being a masterwork.