News / Arts & Entertainment

Family Hires Assassin to Murder Mama in 'Killer Joe'

Matthew McConaughey stars as a killer-for-hire in "killer Joe"
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 "Killer Joe"
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 "Killer Joe"
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

Karzai's Legacy: Missed Opportunities?

Afghanistan's president leaves behind a much different nation than the one he inherited, yet his legacy from 13 years in power is getting mixed reviews More

Video Secret Service Chief Under Fire for White House Security Breach

Julia Pierson faces tough questions from lawmakers after recent intrusion at White House, says: 'It is clear that our security plan was not executed properly' More

Frustrated, Liberian Students Want Ebola Fight Role

Thousands have volunteered to go to counties, rural villages to talk to people in their language about deadly virus More

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Malaysia Struggles to Stop People Joining Jihadi
X
Mahi Ramakrishnan
September 30, 2014 2:16 PM
Malaysian authorities say militant groups like the so-called "Islamic State" have used social media to entice at least three dozen Malaysian Muslims to fight in what they call "jihad" in Syria and Iraq. As Mahi Ramkrishnan reports from Kuala Lumpur, counterterrorism police are deeply worried about what could happen when these militants return home.
Video

Video Malaysia Struggles to Stop People Joining Jihad

Malaysian authorities say militant groups like the so-called "Islamic State" have used social media to entice at least three dozen Malaysian Muslims to fight in what they call "jihad" in Syria and Iraq. As Mahi Ramkrishnan reports from Kuala Lumpur, counterterrorism police are deeply worried about what could happen when these militants return home.
Video

Video Could US Have Done More to Stop Rise of Islamic State?

President Obama says airstrikes against Islamic State militants in Syria will likely continue for some time because, in his words, "there is a cancer that has grown for too long." So what if President Obama had acted sooner in Syria to arm more-moderate opponents of both the Islamic State and the Syrian government? VOA State Department Correspondent Scott Stearns reports from the United Nations.
Video

Video Treasure Hunters Seek 'Hidden Treasure' in Central Kenya

Could a cave in a small village in central Kenya be the site of buried treasure? A rumor of riches, left behind by colonialists, has some residents dreaming of wealth, while others see it as a dangerous hoax. VOA's Gabe Joselow has the story.
Video

Video Iran's Rouhani Skeptical on Syria Strikes

Iranian President Hassan Rouhani expressed skepticism Friday that U.S.-led airstrikes in Iraq and Syria could crush Islamic State militants. From New York, VOA’s Margaret Besheer reports the president was also hopeful that questions about Iran’s nuclear program could be resolved soon.
Video

Video US House Speaker: Congress Should Debate Authorization Against IS

As wave after wave of U.S. airstrikes target Islamic State militants, the speaker of the Republican-controlled House of Representatives says he would be willing to call Congress back into session to debate a formal, broad authorization for the use of military force. VOA’s Michael Bowman reports from Washington, where legislators left town 10 days ago for a seven-week recess.
Video

Video Ebola Patients Find No Treatment at Sierra Leone Holding Center

At a holding facility in Makeni, central Sierra Leone, dozens of sick people sit on the floor in an empty university building. They wait in filthy conditions. It's a 16-hour drive by ambulance to Kailahun Ebola treatment center. Adam Bailes was there and reports on what he says are some of the worst situations he has seen since the beginning of this Ebola outbreak. And he says it appears case numbers may already be far worse than authorities acknowledge.
Video

Video Identifying Bodies Found in Texas Border Region

Thousands of immigrants have died after crossing the border from Mexico into remote areas of the southwestern United States in recent years. Local officials in south Texas alone have found hundreds of unidentified bodies and buried them in mass graves in local cemeteries. Now an anthropologist and her students at Baylor University have been exhuming bodies and looking for clues to identify them. VOA’s Greg Flakus has more from Waco, Texas.
Video

Video Ebola Robs Liberians of Chance to Say Good-Bye to Loved Ones

In Liberia, where Ebola has killed more than 1,500 people, authorities have worked hard to convince people to allow specialized burial teams to take away dead bodies. But these safety measures, while necessary, make it hard for people to say good bye to their loved ones. VOA's Anne Look reports on the tragedy from Liberia.
Colonel Steve ‘Spiros’ Pisanos left Greece and came to the U.S. to learn to fly. He flew fighters for the Allies in World War II, narrowly escaping death multiple times.Colonel Steve ‘Spiros’ Pisanos left Greece and came to the U.S. to learn to fly. He flew fighters for the Allies in World War II, narrowly escaping death multiple times.

AppleAndroid

New in Music Alley

Border Crossings

Matthew Wade sits down with "Border Crossings" host Larry London to talk about his new CD, “Diamond from Coal,” his fourth album with his band, My Silent Bravery.