Conclusion: As Friedkin mentions in the featurette, SXSW intro and the commentary, the intent of the film is elicit a strong response from the audience. He mentions that though he is not concerned which side of the fence the audience lands, he is concerned with the viewers experiencing some kind of emotional reaction from the events depicted on screen.
Excerpt: Matthew McConaughey is this generation’s Robert Mitchum. This isn’t to say that the prime years McConaughey squandered shirtless in dire romantic comedies put him on equal footing with the iconic star of The Night Of The Hunter and Out Of The Past . But they have the same dangerous magnetism—lithe, relaxed, preternaturally self-assured, and almost feminine in their power to seduce.
Excerpt: Texas. Chris (Emile Hirsch) owes a lot of money to a local gangster. Staying with his father Ansel (Thomas Haden Church), stepmother Sharla (Gina Gershon) and younger sister Dottie (Juno Temple), he and Ansel hatch a plan. They hire local cop Joe (Matthew McConaughey), who is a contract killer on the side, to do away with Chris' mother and Ansel's ex, Adele: Dottie will be the beneficiary of the life insurance.
Excerpt: The opening titles are simple but accurate: "William Friedkin's Film of Tracy Letts' Killer Joe ." And make no mistake--William Friedkin has made a film of it, but this is undeniably "Tracy Letts' Killer Joe ." Adapted from the Pulitzer Prize winner's first play, it is a dark, twisted, chilling piece of work, and with this writer, that's saying something. It is also Friedkin's second film adaptation of a Letts play, after 2006's harrowing (and underseen) Bug .
Summary: Killer Joe is a superbly written, well-acted redneck thriller that’s quite obvious about its stage-play roots. While the build-up is entertaining, it’s the third act goes completely bonkers. Eliciting laughs one moment and disturbing craziness the next, the audience were unsure (even nervous) of how to respond, which made me love it even more. It also gave me a newly warped definition of the term ‘double down’.