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

EU Court Fines Poland for Hosting CIA 'Black Sites'

Ruling is first time a court has acknowledged suspects were held and tortured at the sites, under US program launched following the 9/11 terrorist attacks More

Migrant Issues Close to Home Spur Groups to Take Action

Groups placing water, food in the desert, or aiding detainees after release, have one common goal: no more deaths of migrants crossing illegally into the US More

Video At AIDS Conference, Prevention Pill Stirs Excitement

Truveda shows promise, spurring debate over access and other approaches More

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Treatment for Childhood Epilepsy Heats up Medical Marijuana Debatei
X
Shelley Schlender
July 24, 2014 6:43 PM
In the United States, marijuana is classed as an illegal drug by the federal government. But nearly half the states have legalized it, to some degree. Proponents say some strains of marijuana might have exceptional health benefits, for treating pain or inflammation in chronic conditions such as cancer, multiple sclerosis and epilepsy. Shelley Schlender reports on a strain of medical marijuana developed in Colorado that is reputed to reduce seizures in childhood epilepsy
Video

Video Treatment for Childhood Epilepsy Heats up Medical Marijuana Debate

In the United States, marijuana is classed as an illegal drug by the federal government. But nearly half the states have legalized it, to some degree. Proponents say some strains of marijuana might have exceptional health benefits, for treating pain or inflammation in chronic conditions such as cancer, multiple sclerosis and epilepsy. Shelley Schlender reports on a strain of medical marijuana developed in Colorado that is reputed to reduce seizures in childhood epilepsy
Video

Video Airbus Adds Metal 3D Printed Parts to New Jets

By the end of this year, European aircraft manufacturing consortium Airbus plans to deliver the first of its new, extra-wide-body passenger jets, the A350-XWB. Among other technological innovations, the new plane will also incorporate metal parts made in a 3-D printer. VOA's George Putic has more.
Video

Video Death Toll From Israel-Gaza Conflict Surpasses 700

Gaza officials say a shelling hit a compound housing a United Nations-run school in the Gaza Strip, killing more than a dozen people, during an Israeli offensive in the area. Heavy fighting between the Israeli military and Hamas militants continued on Thursday, pushing up the death toll. So far, more than 730 Palestinians and 35 Israelis have been killed in the conflict. VOA's Scott Bobb has the latest from Jerusalem.
Video

Video AIDS Conference Welcomes Exciting Developments in HIV Treatment, Prevention

Significant strides have been made in recent years toward the treatment and prevention of HIV, the virus that causes AIDS. This year, at the International AIDS Conference, the AIDS community welcomed progress on a new pill that may prevent transmission of the deadly virus. VOA’s Anita Powell reports from Melbourne, Australia.
Video

Video Israel Targets Gaza Supply Tunnels

The Israeli military has launched a ground operation in Gaza to destroy the myriad tunnels that may have been used to smuggle weapons to Hamas. VOA's Zlatica Hoke reports that could mean more hardship for the people of Gaza, who obtain some of their essential supplies through these underground passages
Video

Video Researchers Target Low-Cost Avatar Technology

Scientists at the University of Southern California Institute for Creative Technologies say 3-dimensional representations could revolutionize social media. Elizabeth Lee has more from Los Angeles.
Video

Video IAEA: Iran Turns its Enriched Uranium Into Less Harmful Form

Iran has converted its stockpiles of enriched uranium into a less dangerous form that is more difficult to use for nuclear weapons, according to the United Nations’ Atomic Energy Agency. The move complies with an interim deal reached with Western powers on Iran's nuclear program last year, in exchange for easing of sanctions. Henry Ridgwell reports for VOA from London.
Video

Video In Cambodia, HIV Diagnosis Brings Deadly Shame

Although HIV/AIDS is now a treatable condition, a positive diagnosis is still a life altering experience. In Cambodia, people living with HIV are often disowned by friends, family and the community. This humiliation can be unbearable. We bring you one Cambodian woman’s struggle to overcome a life tragedy and her own HIV positive diagnosis.

AppleAndroid

New in Music Alley

The Hamilton Live

Acclaimed jazz saxophonist Tia Fuller has made a name for herself appearing with such high-profile artists as Beyonce, Esperanza Spalding, and Terri Lyne Carrington. Tia and her quartet performed music from her CD “Angelic Warrior” on our latest edition of "The Hamilton Live."