Matthew McConaughey stars as the eponymous Killer Joe in William Friedkin’s crime-thriller, heralded by critics as an unmissable dark and twisted film this year, which sounds perfect to me. It recently landed the notorious NC-17 rating across the Atlantic – a rating potentially damaging to its US box office performance.

The film debuted in Venice last year to brilliant reviews, and the anticipation has been high ever since.

eOne are distributing it here in the UK, and they’ve put out the first 20-second TV spot ahead of its release in two weeks’ time. The film is also set to open the Edinburgh Film Festival next week (tickets to the opening available here).

“When 22-year-old Chris (Emile Hirsch) finds himself in debt to a drug lord, he hires a hit man to dispatch his mother, whose $50,000 life insurance policy benefits his sister Dottie (Juno Temple). Chris finds Joe Cooper (Matthew McConaughey), a creepy, crazy Dallas cop who moonlights as a contract killer. When Chris can’t pay Joe upfront, Joe sets his sight on Dottie as collateral for the job. The contract killer and his hostage develop an unusual bond. Like from a modern-day, twisted fairy tale, “Killer Joe” Cooper becomes the prince to Dottie’s Cinderella. Based on the play by Pulitzer and Tony Award winner Tracy Letts, “Killer Joe” is a garish, proactive black comedy from Academy Award-winning director William Friedkin (The Exorcist, The French Connection) and stars Emile Hirsch, Matthew McConaughey, Juno Temple, Thomas Haden Church, and Gina Gershon.”

McConaughey continues his recent trend of diversifying his career, and we can look forward to a great supporting cast with him in Emile Hirsch, Juno Temple, Thomas Haden Church, and Gina Gershon, with Pulitzer Prize and Tony Award winner Tracy Letts adapting his own play of the same name.

Here in the UK, 18 ratings haven’t got the same kind of stigma as the NC-17 does in the US, so I’m hoping that it will find a strong audience here in two weeks ahead of its release in the States towards the end of next month. And hopefully it will be part of a recent slate of films (like Steve McQueen’s Shame) that will wear its NC-17 like a badge of honour, and with a bit of luck, pull in audiences far and wide.

Killer Joe will be released in the UK two weeks today on 29th June, before getting a limited release in the US on 27th July – as if its NC-17 rating wasn’t hard enough, it’s also going up against the second week of The Dark Knight Rises. Thankfully, 29th June is a fairly light weekend here in the UK, and I think this will be a very safe bet for everyone looking for a strong crime/thriller.

[yframe url=’′]