Adapted from Tracy Letts’ first play from almost twenty years ago with the playwright providing the script, Friedkin would, no doubt, baulk at us for doing the auteur thing, which – yes- would inevitably take us back forty years to his masterpieces of genre reinvention, ‘The French Connection’ and ‘The Exorcist’, the two films that have limited critical responses to his work ever since. True, we should tread carefully; that was then and this is now and the psycho-cop of the film’s title is not Popeye Doyle and the somnambulist-like girl that catches his eye battles very different demons from those that possessed Regan. Yet, the religious iconography remains – crosses appear in quotidian settings with the same structural signposts familiar to us from Renaissance paintings, a strategically positioned ‘family grace’ scene is packed with a double irony – and, there is another highly constructed ‘chase scene’, wonderfully laced with a knowing Post Modern simulacrum and mischievous self-parody. And what are to make of the ending; a metaphorical Russian roulette moment of life and death giving way to a possible sardonic redemption and rebirth? How could we not treat all of this as some kind of correspondence with his earlier oeuvre? Any denial would be Mr Friedkin taking the piss, surely.
This is an adaptation that sees Friedkin playing a dangerous game, seemingly reluctant to transcend the film’s theatrical origins in an absolute sense but pulling it off against the odds. Creating a subconscious awareness of the source similar to the kind that we might experience from an adapted novel, the subtle manipulation of space adequately replaces the physical presence of the actors in avoiding the ultimate ‘cinematic death’ sensation of a filmed play.
Matthew McConaughey, reaping the rewards of a career switch away from his trademark romcoms, delivers a compelling performance as Killer Joe, the amoral cop for hire with a sideline in bumping people off. His portrayal has something in common with Casey Affleck’s small time deputy sheriff, Lou Ford, in Michael Winterbottom’s ‘The Killer Inside Me’. Both embody a lawless streak, a throwback to the ideological contradictions of the Western, in their deeply disturbing display of Texan charm and manners, leading to an insatiable but frighteningly controlled ultra-violence of the ‘bashing women’s faces to a pulp’ variety.
A dysfunctional ‘trailer park’ family with its back to the wall on every front becomes the victim when a hair-brained insurance scam brings Killer Joe into its world. Morally conflicted but not entirely repugnant, their double and triple crossing and a murder of an unsympathetic sounding character becomes a set-up for a smart blend of noir comedy and involving drama.
Completing the excellent ensemble cast are Emile Hirsch as a naive drug dealer son desperate to avoid something worse than the ‘good kicking’ that he received for not paying his debts, Thomas Haden Church and Gina Gershon playing the intellectually challenged father and his second wife of easy virtue and the emerging Juno Temple as the vacant daughter with a truly deluded notion of Prince Charming.buy female viagrafemale viagra for salewomens viagra onlinegeneric female viagra
And yes, there is the much discussed fowl and foul ‘fried chicken’ scene.