Director William Friedkin has returned once again, however, this time, he's dressed in Tracy Letts' stage gown.

Based on Letts' eponymous play, Friedkin and his recent collaborator (Bug, 2006), deliver another whirlwind of big and bold characters clashing within a small environment.

To say Friedkin has returned to the heights of The Exorcist or The French Connection would be unfair. It'd be nice to see a glimmer of it, though.

The film is solid, in that it's clearly pushing the audience to squirm and detest the very minimal characters it manages to retain. Wide-released NC-17 films are few and far between and, in one particular scene near the end, Friedkin justifies the rating.

It's a shame the director couldn't levitate this explosion of a genre picture into something more. Once you see Matthew McConaughey interact with a piece of fried chicken, you certainly understand the depth of this film.

UA DeVargas, NC-17, 102 min.