There's no doubt that at the very least, "Killer Joe" is an R-rated film. Based on the play by Tracy Letts ("Bug" which Friedkin adapted into an underrated thriller; "August: Osage County" which is being turned into a vehicle for Julia Roberts and Meryl Streep) the film tells the story of a young man (Emile Hirsch) who contracts out a crooked cop (a wickedly evil Matthew McConaughey) to kill his mother for the insurance money, and puts up his younger sister (Juno Temple) as collateral to pay for the job. It's twisted stuff, but also rioutously funny and completely fucking bonkers. It treads strange territory in ways that sub-Tarantino/Coen wannabees could only dream of doing, but NC-17? There's no explicit sex (though there is nudity), nor any particulary graphic violence (though yes, it does get bloody), however we do have a pretty good idea why the movie has run foul of the board.
**SPOILERS BEGIN** The film's unbelievably explosive finale features a lurid, funny and disturbing (all at once) scene in which Gina Gershon is forced to perform fellatio on a piece of fried chicken. We won't get into why, but it's both revolting and absurd, but given the generally conservative nature of the ratings board, we'd bet our money that's the scene that has their panties all in a bunch. **SPOILERS END**
Distributors LD Entertainment plan to appeal the rating, and good luck to them. If Harvey can't convince the MPAA that a documentary about bullying might be something that kids need to see, we presume they'll be even less lenient about an already pretty transgressive B-movie. But we hope wiser heads prevail, because this film is a blast and it would be a shame if it was kept from finding an audience. No release date yet, but "Killer Joe" is slated to hit later this year.