Holy shit on a shingle.
I'm not sure what I just watched but one thing I am sure of, it was original. Sure, there have been other films depicting despicable characters. There have been other films with simple minded, nitwit criminals. But I can honestly say, beyond a shadow of doubt, the Smith's take the cake.
To me personally, a person who loves movies about non likable, waste of life, degenerate scumbag characters, this film was a pure joy from beginning to end. I wouldn't say it's Friedkin's best, not by a long shot. That moniker goes to Live and Die IMHO. But saying this movie is not as good as one of the top 5 of all time cop flicks is not a slight. This is a tight, engrossing, riveting, revolting, visceral, and dirty experience.
It definitely shakes you to your core. But not because of what was shown on screen. There is a lot of gratuitous nudity but its pretty tame in the violence department. The "chicken leg" scene everyone talks about wasn't difficult to watch at all. When I first heard about this movie and the NC-17 I said then I highly doubted it would be as tough to watch as the scene from Killer Inside Me when Affleck roughs up Jessica Alba. After watching it I can confirm. If you can make it through that scene in Killer Inside Me, this pales in comparison. Overall I wouldn't say the NC-17 was unearned, but it wasn't that bad. Watching Affleck tune up Alba was a lot more disturbing to me.
Anyway, I would not hesitate to recommend this to anyone who enjoys films like Shallow Grave, Bad Lieutenant, Trainspotting, etc., etc, etc. It's not for everyone but to those who enjoy them, movies like this don't come along near enough.
9/10 and #2 film of the year. Thought it might knock off the top dog and be #1 film of the year based upon the hype. It was good, it delivered the goods, it came pretty close, but top spot of the year still belongs to The Raid and I just don't see that changing.