The Killer Inside Me Reviews
This is a more graphic version of The Last Picture Show meets Gone Baby Gone. The main character possesses an amorality rarely seen in film. He's so smooth his victims never see it coming, as he explains to one of them. Jessica Alba is wonderful, as his Kate Hudson-in a better role than usual.
The music, a combination of opera and western swing, creates a fantastically eerie mood also. I recommend this film to thriller fans, but be prepared-its extreme
Michael Winterbottom is a director who I can say, after only seeing three of his films, The Killer Inside Me being the third and A Mighty Heart and Road to Guantanamo being the other two, that I respect. It's rare that a director hooks you like that after only seeing a few of his movies, but Winterbottom is an extremely interesting direct. He doesn't shy away from material, that's for damn sure. Movies like A Mighty Heart and Road to Guantanamo show that off excellently. The Killer Inside Me does too. There's a lot of really disturbing and disgusting material, some shown and some hinted at, and also highly psycho-sexual.
A small town deputy sheriff hovers between two lives, his simple life as a deputy and the other part of him that comes out. We get a lot of backstory throughout the film that explains why Lou Ford has the killer inside him and it's done in a really clever and interesting way.
While this isn't as good as the other two films I've seen from Winterbottom, I still really liked it and think it's highly underrated. I thought Casey Affleck nailed his role as Lou Ford. He came off as not just a believable psychopath, but a perfect psychopath. The supporting cast surrounding Affleck is interesting to say the least. We get Kate Hudson, Jessica Alba, Ned Beatty and Bill Pullman, along with some Texas accented character actors. None of them really help the movie at all, there all kind of just there, which makes sense given the main characters lack of empathy for other human beings.
The Killer Inside Me is definitely worth a watch. It's not a masterpiece by any stretch, but it's a solid crime thriller with a surprisingly excellent performance from Casey Affleck. It has a nice pace and Winterbottom's direction is extremely clever.
And I'm happy to say that this does the source material a pretty good amount of justice, and, given the time when the film was made, it's able to really showcase the more grisly content of the story. Even then, the film garnered controversy for the violent content, but I'd really be amazed to know what people thought of it in the 1950s.
The story concerns 29 year-old Deputy Sheriff Lou Ford, all the people in his small West Texas town know him to be quiet, unassuming, and a decent guy. What they don't know is that, beneath the surface, he's a sociopath with a penchant for sexual violence and sadomasochistic tendencies. He gets involved in a scheme goen wrong, and ends up havign to pile with a big string of muders...all committed by him. And thigns get worse from there, since murdering seems to be the only way to get through the progressively dire situation.
In a lot of ways, this comes off like something the Coen Brothers would do (either Blood SImple or No Country For Old Men, especially), though this might be far darker, and especially more lurid, and definitely without a trace of quirk or really any kind of humor, black or otherwise. It's a thrillingly warped tale, and a great character study that really gets into the mind of a psycho. It does sometimes feel really emotionally empty and closed off from the characters, but even then, you can't help but feel engaged and really want to find out what will happen.
Casey Affleck really shines here as Ford, and his portrait of Ford is disturbing, unrelenting, super creepy, and absolutely some of his best work to date. Jessica Alba surprisingly is also good as the prostitute that Ford gets involved with who gets the whole messy situation going. She actually is pretty believable, and she should consider taking on more dark and edgy work like this. The rest of the supprting cast has a lot of notable names like Kate Hudson, Simon Baker, Ned Beatty, Elias Koteas, and Bill Pullman, and they all deliver some decent work as well.
The soundtrack is sizzling, and really ecclectic, and the opening credits (set to the original version of "Fever" by Little Willie John) really got me excited right from the start, and from there the film kept on mostly delivering the goods. The cinematography and location work is fantastic, and the direction, well, it's not bad. The film meanders once in a while, but never really full on drags. It still keeps one's attention though, so yeah.
If you can stomach lurid subject matter, graphic content (often directed at females), and want to see one of the darkest and grittiest film noir thrillers out there, then defintiely give this a shot. I'm torn between 4 and 4.5, so let's give it the highest possible B+ ever.
Well-behaved & mild-mannered, deputy sheriff Ford (Affleck) oversees the goings on in an idyllic West Texas town. Oozing southern gentility, behind Ford's mask of sanity lies a lurid past and the sadomasochist tendencies that have haunted him ever since. Imbued with noir sensibilities and rich style, Winterbottom plunges the viewer into the cold calculations of a sociopath. He nails the 50's aesthetic with his use of muted colors and an exquisite set design. And, while it is only a minor part of the film, he crafts probably my favorite opening credit sequence of all time.
Affleck is also excellent here. Easily giving his best performance to date. However, he unfortunately shares a generous amount of screen time with Hudson and Alba, who in my opinion don't deserve such weighty roles.
While the script could have used a bit more doctoring and the ending suffered from some lackluster special effects, Winterbottom's adaptation is undeserving of the "art-house torture porn" label that it has been given.
Perhaps Jessica Alba's choice of films (The Love Guru, Meet Bill) should be more in question than her acting. With the solid remake of horror film The Eye, the very funny Good Luck Chuck and now as solid supporting actress role in The Killer Inside Me her performances seem as sharp as ever. Im not sure where the sense is in her criticism; perhaps it is because of the pretty face...
Winterbottom got the feeling of the film right; as a garish noir-cum-neo-noir it's treated handsomely, with the almost unnaturally high-key lighting at desperate odds with the insidious plot. Unfortunately, that's really all there is to The Killer Inside Me, as the rest of it simply doesn't hold up. Casey Affleck (the frontrunner for my Shithead of the Year award) mistakes sociopathy for vacancy and completely fumbles any attempt at demonstrating how a human can become so inhuman. Jessica Alba and Kate Hudson both squarely out-act him, which is horrifying in its own right, but Affleck's barely-there line readings torpedo what was a fairly thin movie in the first place.
But the viewers should be warned, the violence against women is uncomfortably brutal.
Nate's Grade: C
Casey Affleck is really coldly and creepily effective as a serial killer who goes about calmly killing people, some of them whom he supposedly cares about.
As a woman, this was hard viewing. Jessica Alba, in particular was hard to understand as a woman who seemed to like a bit of a beating - well she certainly got that here. That was a hard enough scene, but the one with Kate Hudson was possibly even more gruelling as she was his fiancee and she wasn't looking for it. There are plenty of male victims here also. This guy was like Dexter without the redeeming features.
Really, really nasty film, and that ending...
Aside from that, no fault to find with it, very well cast and looks great, Very well made film, just very hard to take.