THE KILLER INSIDE ME.
I have no doubt that a lot of filmgoers will be repulsed by the shocking violence towards women in the film “The Killer Inside Me”, and because of that they will dismiss the films qualities. It is a very dark, bleak film based on the 1952 novel by pulp fiction writer Jim Thompson (The Grifters, The Getaway). Directed by the very prolific British director Michael Winterbottom (Welcome To Sarajevo, A Mighty Heart), it stars Casey Affleck (Gone Baby Gone) as a deeply disturbed psychopath.
Set in a small Texas town in the 50’s (excellent production design), it tells the story of deputy sheriff Lou Ford (Affleck). Despatched to evict a prostitute (Jessica Alba) out of town, and after a bit of slapping around, he starts an affair with her. This leads him to commit a brutal attack and murder. The attack which occurs about a half hour into the film, is shocking and very hard to watch. I am sure heads will turn away. Thinking he has gotten away with the murder, Ford is pursued by a union leader (Elias Koteas) who knows about his past, and an attorney (Simon Baker) who suspects he is the culprit. The father of the murdered man, a powerful force in the town (played by Ned Beatty – terrific), is determined to find the killer too. Ford is a very innocent looking baby faced killer, deeply troubled after an abusive childhood. Battling demons, and a force inside him, he shows no remorse to kill, even the ones he loves. It is a complex role and Casey Affleck is very good in the part. Unfortunately the female roles aren’t well served. Jessica Alba disappoints in the prostitute role, her sudden attack on Ford is unconvincing, and her brutal murder (though hideous), is not heartbreaking, as I felt it should have been. Kate Hudson as Ford’s girlfriend is given very little to do, so is ineffectual. The other supports are good, with Bill Pullman turning up in an amusing cameo.
Michael Winterbottom has created a very well crafted , good looking film, that at times is startling, but it doesn’t quite satisfy. It has a messy ending and some song choices throughout that are jarring and pointless. The gratuitous violence does leave a bad taste in your mouth, so that doesn’t help. Winterbottom is an interesting filmmaker, never repeating himself as far as film choices go. Sometimes he hits, sometimes he misses. With “The Killer Inside Me”, he almost gets there. It is worth checking out, but as a whole a little disappointing. In my own opinion.
It opens in cinemas tomorrow week (Aug 26)