Darkly comic thriller to open Edinburgh International Film Festival

Emile Hirsch, Gina Gershon and Matthew McConaughey at the US premiere of Killer Joe last month. Picture: Getty Images

Emile Hirsch, Gina Gershon and Matthew McConaughey at the US premiere of Killer Joe last month. Picture: Getty Images

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KILLER Joe, a comic thriller from the director of The Exorcist, has been announced as the Opening Gala film at this year’s Edinburgh International Film Festival (EIFF).

Starring Matthew McConaughey and Emile Hirsch, the film will receive its UK premiere at the Festival Theatre with director William Friedkin and cast in attendance.

Killer Joe, which also features Juno Temple, Gina Gershon and Thomas Haden Church, is about a young drug dealer who hires a hitman to murder his own mother for her $50,000 life insurance policy.

Alistair Harkness: Even if it’s not a world premiere, Killer Joe seems like a good choice for Edinburgh

EIFF artistic director Chris Fujiwara said: “We’re delighted to be opening this year’s festival with Killer Joe. For my first year as artistic director, I intend to deliver a diverse programme that will spotlight filmmaking of real artistic distinction. William Friedkin’s exhilarating, intense, and brilliantly crafted film is absolutely in keeping with this ambition.”

Friedkin said: “Killer Joe is about the good and evil in everyone, the struggle for our better angels to triumph over our demons. Often lost. The thin line between the policeman and the criminal. It’s also a riff on the Cinderella story, wherein she finds her prince, but he turns out to be a hired killer.

“I would also like to thank the Edinburgh International Film Festival for honouring our film with this screening, uncut. Of a film the Motion Picture Association of America has expressed a desire to censor.”

EIFF runs from 20 June to 1 July 2012. More info at www.edfilmfest.org.uk/