DIRECTOR: William Friedkin | WRITER: Tracy Letts | CAST: Matthew McConaughey, Emile Hirsch, Juno Temple, Thomas Haden Church, Gina Gershon | USA
I probably had absurdly high hopes for Killer Joe, but it turned out to be my biggest movie disappointment in 2012. It’s a mean-spirited, condescending, smirky black comedy that isn’t particularly funny or even half as outrageous as it’s clearly meant to be. It feels like a thesis project for a master’s degree in playwriting that’s been amplified and thrown on film with no taste or panache or even any particular style. Worse, the actors didn’t manage to find anything halfway original to do with their parts — they’re either mugging outrageously (Gina Gershon, Juno Temple) or doing actors’ workshop-style line readings instead of acting (Emile Hirsch, Thomas Haden Church). Matthew McConaughey tries to channel Robert Mitchum’s creepy Harry Powell in The Night of the Hunter but falls into Lynchian affectlessness instead. He tried, at least. And Friedkin’s directing? It’s surprisingly pedestrian. I’ll leave it at that.