This adaptation of Thompson's 1952 novel about a cunning, psychotic sheriff's deputy in a small Texas town locates the killer inside him and immerses us in the cold calculation and horrible logic that pull him from one murder to the next.
Winterbottom was right to keep the light and compositions flat and bright and eerily sunny, no matter what sort of evilness Lou perpetrates. But the story should grow progressively more reckless-seeming and feverish; instead, it is methodical to a fault.
It's one thing on the page, where you're almost as horrified by the idea of some person actually writing this as you are by what you're reading. But on the screen, actually watching it happen, it begins to fall apart.
None of this makes sense; no character motivation is ever analyzed; and by the time the end credits roll, everyone in the film is dead already. The film is seriously lacking in a sense of redemption, and I couldn't find a moral purpose with a spyglass.