An unnerving sniper killing five people kicks off the action in “Jack Reacher,” a heartbreaking reminder of the tragic Newtown massacre. Once this difficult-to-watch scene ends, a well-written detective procedural follows, except that title character Jack Reacher isn’t a detective, which makes the plot all the more intriguing.
It’s difficult to embrace a film as downright emotionally and often physically ugly as director William Friedkin’s Killer Joe. Yes, it trades on many of the familiar elements of film noir, anchored in a murder scheme for money. But unlike the best of those, it lacks the grace, wit and humanity embedded in cautionary tales.