K-Fried-C: Killer Joe’s Reflection of Human Interaction in the Age of Social Media
Social media has literally changed the entire world. From creating uncountable communities great and small, to expanding our reach and allowing connections the world over, to creating billions of collars of customer data, social media is an ever-evolving juggernaut that reworks the fabric of society in a heartbeat.
As social media changes how we interact with each other online, the effects spread to our offline interactions. Character dynamics in stories reflect society, and as culture curves towards more online activity and more online influence, it is reflected in print and film. The expansion and fragmentation of social media is reflected in the Smith family in Killer Joe, as the genie is unleashed and cannot be contained, forever changing their lives in unexpected and tragic ways.
The Smith family relationships are already fractured as the film begins. Ansel is on his second wife, Sharla, and their favorite hobby is being disgusted at each other. Chris begins the film being thrown out of his mother’s place, having committed violence against his mother after she stole his drugs, causing him to owe far too much money to a local gangster. And Dottie is always in her own little world, rapidly switching from childlike innocence to implausible omnipresent knowledge at the drop of a hat.
Instead of “likes” and “retweets”, the Smith family deals in “anger” and “screaming” They are the living embodiment of getting into a political argument on Facebook, where suddenly your relatives that you’ve loved forever start spouting abhorrent viewpoints that make you question their humanity. The Smiths scream and some openly hate each other. Chris and Sharla do nothing but scream insults at one another, barely containing their contempt to just throttle the other. As internet discourse takes over, the veil that polite society limits such squabbles to sniping and occasional remarks is long abandoned. In order to get any point across, the easiest way is to yell and scream the loudest. As the family’s arguments increase in volume, the screaming gets louder and more violent. Like online, no one filters what they think, everyone just ramps things up.