The Killer Inside Me

Out Now On-Demand

Crime drama (based on the novel by legendary pulp writer Jim Thompson) from director Michael Winterbottom (A Mighty Heart, 24 Hour Party People) starring Casey Affleck (the better Affleck), Jessica Alba and Kate Hudson.

Lou Ford (Affleck) is a handsome, charming, unassuming small town sheriff in West Texas with a bunch of problems. Woman problems, law enforcement problems, an ever-growing pile of murder victims, plus there's the fact he's a sadist, a psychopath, and a killer. Suspicion begins to fall on Lou, and it's only a matter of time before he runs out of alibis.

British director Michael Winterbottom is known for following his filmmaking muse, with his work running a gamut of genres including drama, comedy, science fiction and unsimulated sex (if such a section exists in the video store apart from that one, y’know, that’s discretely tucked away). Here he goes noir, with this adaptation of classic pulp fiction writer Jim Thompson’s perhaps most brutal novel, The Killer Inside Me.

Typically for Winterbottom, it is a beautifully shot effort, with small-town Texas looking amazing on the big screen and boasting a visual style that bolsters the film’s subject matter. Casey Affleck delivers a chilling performance as a sociopathic deputy sheriff whose charming veneer shatters as we’re introduced to his taste for violence of both the straight-up and sexual kinds. Not the nicest fellow to play then, especially when beating the living daylights out of Jessica Alba and Kate Hudson in unflinching scenes that earned the film notoriety upon release. There’s nothing voyeuristic about these moments though, difficult to watch as they might be, as they’re some of the few moments where The Killer Inside Me really makes an impact on the audience.

Yes, it looks good and the narrative has the potential to be gripping, but Winterbottom’s film doesn’t really connect on an emotional level as its characters always seem to be distant from the viewer. The film fails to make anywhere near the impact it should, and falls short of the sustained noir atmosphere required, instead being something that has the ability to shock but never quite deliver on its potential.

Chicago Sun-Times (Roger Ebert)

press

While I admire Affleck's performance, I believe Winterbottom and his writer, John Curran, may have miscalculated. The reader of a pulp crime thriller might be satisfied simply with the prurient descriptions, and certainly this film visualizes those and has as its victims Jessica Alba and Kate Hudson, who embody paperback covers, but the dominant presence in the film is Lou Ford, and there just doesn't seem to be anybody at home.

Dominion Post

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In 1950s west Texas, small-town deputy Sheriff Lou Ford (Affleck) is leading a double life. In town he is the mild-mannered cop everyone knows and tolerates.

Empire (UK)

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As darkly disturbing as Jim Thompson's novel, this is a genuinely upsetting film that might also be Winterbottom's best. Not for everyone, but near-faultless all the same.

Guardian (UK)

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Despite its extreme violence, this is a serious film – a haiku of despair...

Little White Lies (UK)

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This is a film which will live or die in your memory based on your reaction to a scene of almost unwatchable violence that occurs within the opening half an hour, and which has duly invoked comparisons to both Gaspar Noé’s Irréversible and Lars von Trier’s Antichrist.

Total Film (UK)

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Taking a cold, cruel plunge into its sociopath’s world, Winterbottom’s latest genre swerve is an accomplished neo-noir.

The Critic Inside Me

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The Critic Inside Me

I was excited about this movie.

1. It's a Michael Winterbottom joint, meaning it will probably be crafted with some vitality and thought.

2. It's adapted from a bona fide pulp-noir cult classic by Jim Thompson.

3. It had upset alot of conservative viewers, which only perked my curiosity further.

Sadly, The Killer Inside Me doesn't work. It has the bleak worldview of classic noir... but, depsite being set in the past, there's still the self-consciousness of modern cinema here. It feels like a sincere but miscalculated attempt at recreating a dreamy (rather than "authentic") look and feel.

The cast (mostly) do well with difficult roles, but as others have mentioned, it's hard to care about any of these characters: our narrator is a sexual sadist who views everyone around him with contempt... as such, there's little humanity on display. Which mightn't necessarily be a bad thing in such a dark story (James Ellroy and Bret Easton Ellis have written plenty of good stuff using this very device)... but when the "story" doesn't grab you, there's little to hold on to here beyond the art direction EXCEPT the violence.

Which, for the record, is quite brutal for a Hollywood production. But doesn't, in my opinion, overstep any boundaries of "common decendy" (Winterbottom is simply honest about how awful violence is). Nor does it, however, make any meaningful new statement.

All in all, some interesting parts don't add up to a satisfactory whole.


no dull moment

John I think this film is great. I didn't find it to be too violent, and it had a lot of tension with great acting from Casey and the other casts. I felt very absorbed into the film and it didn't have a dull moment.

Very very violent but absorbing

user


Very very violent but absorbing

Not to everyone's tastes but there is definately something stunning about this film


Appalling Misogynistic Rubbish

Why anyone would want to go to a movie that graphically shows a woman getting punched in the face to death, is beyond me. Meanwhile most of the violence against men is shown of screen.

Casey Affleck continues his roles as a bland, empty, personality free character...see Assassination of Jesse James.

The people praising this film are misguided in there vain attempts to sound intelligent and arty. There is absolutely nothing redeeming about this film whatsoever.

Review

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Review

Whilst I would have liked to know more about Affleck's character this film had many memorable moments and had a well created atmosphere. Terrific performances from Affleck and Hudson. I also was expecting the violence to be a lot worse the way people were carrying on.

disturbing but excellent film

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disturbing but excellent film

Casey Affleck sure can pick his roles better than his brother. This might be a little sickening to watch for some easily unsettled people but the cast's performances are overpowering enough to carry this film alone. Not that it needed it