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March 1, 2012 by · Leave a Comment 

Killer Joe, directed by William Friedkin (The French Connection, The Exorcist) and starring Matthew McConaughey and Gina Gershon, has been slapped with an NC-17 rating. While the film includes scenes of brutal violence, they reportedly are no more outlandish than countless similar scenes in R-rated films. Reviews of the film, however, mention scenes in which Gershon appears nude below the waist. The MPAA cited “graphic aberrant content involving violence and sexuality and a scene of brutality.” LD Entertainment, which is distributing the film, said that it plans to appeal. Killer Joe was screened at the Venice and Toronto film festivals and received wildly mixed reviews (although most praised McConaughey’s performance in the title role as a corrupt cop/hitman. Although with the release of the critically praised Shame last December, there was much talk about this being a time when NC-17 films could enter the mainstream, the fact of the matter is that the film flopped at the box office. And while its star, Michael Fassbender, delivered what many critics regarded as the strongest performance of the year, he failed to garner an Oscar nomination — tainted, some said, by the NC-17 rating for the film.