At age 77, William Friedkin has ceased giving any semblance of a fuck. Killer Joe is maybe the most skin-crawlingly nasty picture to come from a major American director since David Lynch’s Blue Velvet.
Set against the burnt-out landscape of the American Southwest, in an
unnamed town on the outskirts of Dallas, it indulges in the ugliest of
white-trash stereotypes. If it were the product of a younger filmmaker,
the cruelty and condescension would translate as desperately
attention-seeking. But Friedkin has been pushing, prodding and provoking
audiences for decades. Killer Joe has no underlying message to
leaven and redeem the violence and perversion; it has only the visceral
charge of a master shit-disturber going all-in appealing to his basest
instincts. It’s disgusting, but just try looking away. You can’t.