Matthew McConaughey’s hot streak continues in what is turning out to be one of the most impressive runs in modern cinematic history. With this, the excellent ‘Mud’, his memorable cameo in ‘The Wolf of Wall Street’ and his Oscar for ‘Dallas Buyer’s Club’ . . . the guy’s on fire.
This time round he plays morally bankrupt cop-by-day hitman-by-night, Joe Cooper, who’s called in to finish off the estranged mother of white trash loser, Chris, and his charming simpleton sister, Dotty. The set up is excellent and Tracy Letts really delivers with the script, adapted from his own stage play.
The drama is feral, compact and hellishly depraved. The family-dinner-from-hell finale, in particular, is shocking but impossible to ignore. The actors give their all in one last push towards the shocking climax. McCounaghey pants his way through the scene like a devil possessed. Spit flying and blood spraying.
The rest of the cast are far from left behind, though, and Thomas Haden Church (the father), Emile Hirsh (Chris) and Gina Gershon (the step mum) all deliver career best performances. But it’s Juno Temple, as Dotty, who really bares all for her art. She totally consumes that character and brings her simplistic, but devilishly complex, persona to life. It’s a truly mind-blowing transformation that provides a chilling fulcrum to the ensuing chaos.
William Friedkin turns what could have been a bloody mess of a movie into a striking insight into the darkest depths of human behaviour.