News / Arts & Entertainment

Family Hires Assassin to Murder Mama in 'Killer Joe'

Matthew McConaughey stars as a killer-for-hire in
Matthew McConaughey stars as a killer-for-hire in "killer Joe"
Alan Silverman
Matthew McConaughey stars as a killer-for-hire in Killer Joe,  a violent and darkly comic new film by veteran director William Friedkin.

Chris has no job and is deep in debt to a loan shark. He is convinced that Killer Joe can solve his financial problems.


 
"Mom has got a $50 thousand life insurance policy. Killer Joe is a professional. He will do this right," Chris tells his dad, Ansel in the movie.

"This is murder we're talking about. I ain't agreed to nothing," Ansel responds.

"I heard y'all talking about killing mama. I think it's a good idea," chimes in Chris' younger sister, Dottie.



Dottie seems out of touch with reality. But together, she and Chris push their befuddled dad, Ansel, to go along with the plan and hire Killer Joe.

"Now, I only have a couple of rules that I insist on sticking to," Joe tells them. "If you are caught, if you are implicated in this crime, you are not under any circumstances to reveal my identity or participation. If you break this rule, you will be killed. Do you understand?"

Matthew McConaughey plays Joe and says that speech about the rules helped him understand this violent character.

"What is the incentive for Joe's violence? Lack of order. Lack of structure, which is what the guy needs everywhere," McConaughey explains.

Juno Temple stars as Dottie in
Juno Temple stars as Dottie in "Killer Joe"
British actress Juno Temple co-stars as Dottie, who hides her emotions behind a dreamy facade.

"She is living in this crazy environment with this family," explains Temple. "She loves them so much, but she also is so frustrated by them and it is causing her to be very angry. Ultimately when Killer Joe comes into her life, he is truly her weird idea of Prince Charming."

Smitten by this ethereal young woman, hard-boiled Joe breaks his own rules …and then proves that his warnings were not empty threats.

A scene from
A scene from "Killer Joe"
Director William Friedkin has used violence for dramatic effect in classic films like The Exorcist and The French Connection. He considers the Killer Joe scenario a common theme.

"There is violence throughout all society …family violence," notes Friedkin.

Its brutally graphic scenes earned the film the most restrictive rating from the Motion Picture Association of America: NC-17, which means nobody under 17 can be admitted. Tracy Letts, who adapted the film script from his own play, says it is not a story for kids.

"Plays don't actually have ratings, but we put it on our poster that people under 18 would not be admitted," Letts says. "We just wanted people to know that if you come in to see this, you're in for some adult fare."

The Killer Joe cast includes Thomas Haden Church as Ansel. Gina Gershon plays his scheming wife Sharla; and Emile Hirsch is Chris, whose money troubles set the plot in motion.

You May Like

Video One Year After Thai Coup, No End in Sight for Military Rule

Since carrying out the May 22, 2014 coup, the general has retired from the military but is still firmly in charge More

Goodbye, New York

This is what the fastest-growing big cities in America have in common More

Job-Seeking Bangladeshis Risk Lives to Find Work

The number of Bangladeshi migrants on smugglers’ boats bound for Southeast Asian countries has soared in the past two years More

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Turkey's Main Opposition Party Hopes for Election Breakthroughi
X
May 22, 2015 10:23 AM
Turkey’s main opposition Republican People’s Party has sought an image change ahead of the June 7 general election. The move comes after suffering successive defeats at the hands of the Islamist-rooted AK Party, which has portrayed it as hostile to religion. Dorian Jones reports from the western city of Izmir.
Video

Video Turkey's Main Opposition Party Hopes for Election Breakthrough

Turkey’s main opposition Republican People’s Party has sought an image change ahead of the June 7 general election. The move comes after suffering successive defeats at the hands of the Islamist-rooted AK Party, which has portrayed it as hostile to religion. Dorian Jones reports from the western city of Izmir.
Video

Video Europe Follows US Lead in Tackling ‘Conflict Minerals’

Metals mined from conflict zones in places like the Democratic Republic of Congo are often sold by warlords to buy weapons. This week European lawmakers voted to force manufacturers to prove that their supply chains are not inadvertently fueling conflicts and human rights abuses. Henry Ridgwell reports from London.
Video

Video Class Tackles Questions of Race, Discrimination

Unrest in some U.S. cities is more than just a trending news item at Ladue Middle School in St. Louis, Missouri. As VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports, it’s a focus of a multicultural studies class engaging students in wide-ranging discussions about racial tensions and police aggression.
Video

Video Mind-Controlled Prosthetics Are Getting Closer

Scientists and engineers are making substantial advances towards the ultimate goal in prosthetics – creation of limbs that can be controlled by the wearer’s mind. Thanks to sophisticated sensors capable of picking up the brain’s signals, an amputee in Iceland is literally bringing us one step closer to that goal. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Afghan Economy Sinks As Foreign Troops Depart

As international troops prepare to leave Afghanistan, and many foreign aid groups follow, Afghans are grappling with how the exodus will affect the country's fragile economy. Ayesha Tanzeem reports from the Afghan capital, Kabul.
Video

Video Poverty, Ignorance Force Underage Girls Into Marriage

The recent marriage of a 17-year old Chechen girl to a local police chief who was 30 years older and already had a wife caused an outcry in Russia and beyond. The bride was reportedly forced to marry and her parents were intimidated into giving their consent. The union spotlighted yet again the plight of many underage girls in developing countries. Zlatica Hoke reports poverty, ignorance and fear are behind the practice, especially in Asia and Africa.
Video

Video South Korea Marks Gwangju Uprising Anniversary

South Korea this week marked the 35th anniversary of a protest that turned deadly. The Gwangju Uprising is credited with starting the country’s democratic revolution after it was violently quelled by South Korea’s former military rulers. But as Jason Strother reports, some observers worry that democracy has recently been eroded.
Video

Video California’s Water System Not Created To Handle Current Drought

The drought in California is moving into its fourth year. While the state's governor is mandating a reduction in urban water use, most of the water used in California is for agriculture. But both city dwellers and farmers are feeling the impact of the drought. Some experts say the state’s water system was not created to handle long periods of drought. Elizabeth Lee reports from Ventura County, an agricultural region just northwest of Los Angeles.
Video

Video How to Clone a Mammoth: The Science of De-Extinction

An international team of scientists has sequenced the complete genome of the woolly mammoth. Led by the Swedish Museum of Natural History in Stockholm, the work opens the door to recreate the huge herbivore, which last roamed the Earth 4,000 years ago. VOA’s Rosanne Skirble considers the science of de-extinction and its place on the planet
Video

Video Blind Boy Defines His Life with Music

Cole Moran was born blind. He also has cognitive delays and other birth defects. He has to learn everything by ear. Nevertheless, the 12-year-old has had an insatiable love for music since he was born. VOA’s June Soh introduces us to the young phenomenal harmonica player.

VOA Blogs

New in Music Alley

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Harry Wayne Casey – “KC” of KC and the Sunshine Band – comes to VOA’s Studio 4 to talk with "Border Crossings" host Larry London and perform songs from his new album, “Feeling You! The 60s.”