“Killer Joe” begins with a Bang, but ends on a Dud

Posted: August 12, 2012 in Films
Tags: , , ,

The opening scene begins with a down pour of rain in the middle of the night, and a dog chained to a trailer barking its head off at Chris (Emile Hirsch), who throws open the door to a trailer home, and right there, staring him in the face, is a woman’s hairy beaver. From that point onward you should know that Killer Joe is not your typical modern-day crime story. It’s more akin to the 1940’s and 50’s crime novels. Now, I’m not talking about the wise-cracking, street-smart private investigators written by Raymond Chandler and Dashiell Hammett, I’m talking about the bloody smut that was churned out by James M. Cain and Jim Thompson. The kind of murder stories that include adultery, pornography, sex with a minor, and faces (both women and men) being beaten to a bloody pulp. And after all that crap, not a single gun was fired until the very end. Can you believe that…? Not a single gun went off in this crime story about murder until the last reel. How does that happen…? Through great storytelling, and a masterful knowledge of the crime genre, that’s how.

Some similarities can be linked to Jim Thompson’s 1964 novel, Pop. 1280

The film was directed by William Friedkin and written by playwrite, Tracy Letts (based on her play by the same title). Its pacing is even and gradual, the plot and consequences grow to become more disastrous, and the twist in the middle of the story fits perfectly. But the ending…sucks. It can sometimes be called artistic when the writer and director leave the ending open to interpretation, but in the case of Killer Joe, it was a big mistake. There needed to be closure and when there wasn’t any, I felt robbed. The poor choice of an ending turned what could’ve been a well-conceived crime story into a dud.

But don’t let a flimsy ending stop you from seeing Killer Joe. I still say it’s a masterpiece of pulp-crime. However, if you’re one of those people who don’t want their world disrupted, and enjoy their four-bedroom suburban home with cat and dog and a regular 9 to 5 with kid’s soccer practice and piano lessons on the weekends, then you’re better off not letting Killer Joe into the house.

Comments
  1. Kim Rose says:

    Tracy Letts is a man.

  2. Mema says:

    To say that the ending of Killer Joe was a dud is an understatement. It definitely leaves the viewer feeling robbed. In most cases with an ending like that I would say skip this movie all together and save yourself both money and frustration. However the plot is good and the actors, especially Matthew M. as (Joe) was very well played. If it had not left you hanging so horribly at the end this movie would have gotten an excellent review at least IMO. I rented it for a buck at red box so no big loss here. If your not the type to stay frustrated at the lack of closure, I’d say it’s worth watching.

  3. Marcus Lopez says:

    Someone call 911! I was robbed! I agree, horrible ending. You might be able to pull that crap with a play, but that pig don’t fly with movies. Even Pulo Fiction had an ending, a great one at that. I’m all for an open ended movie, but you gotta have some kind of conclusion.

  4. Eddie C says:

    This was a masterpiece… Movies shouldnt and don’t always have to leave the viewer satisfied with complete closure, the movie itself left you wondering the entire time. Just like a great novel it leaves your imagination to do work at its best!

  5. Roxanne Bertoni says:

    I really liked this movie, just like I really liked Pulp Fiction. I do feel the ending should have more too it. I don’t want to guess if Joe was shot? Did Dottie have the baby? Did the stepmom live? What was to become of Dottie ? I guess, did she snap? I deserve an ending because I watched the whole movie…

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