A film about violence which actually allows horrific acts to HORRIFY audiences? No way. It’s too risky.
People don’t want to feel ill when they see someone get shot, they want to think it’s cool. They want to feel the power of the murderer without the remorse, they want to see the gore without feeling the anguish as another human being’s life drains away. Or do they?
Your own personal answer to this question will be the primary factor in determining whether or not you like Michael Winterbottom’s daring portrait of a psychotic killer with his new movie The Killer Inside Me.
Based on the pulp novel by Jim Thompson, the film follows unreadable town sheriff Lou Ford as his tumultuous affair with local prostitute Joyce Lakeland sparks a series of events that will begin the process of his exposure and destruction….
The performances are pitched perfectly to create the jarring atmosphere required of such a bunch of opaque characters. Casey Affleck is relentless in his pursuit of the disturbing logic deployed by his murderous character, while the obsessive affections of Lakeland and Ford’s long-term sweetheart Amy Stanton are captured perfectly by Jessica Alba and Kate Hudson respectively.
The bulk of the intrigue here, however, comes from the psychological puzzle presented by the infathomable Ford and one local lawyer may who may have just cracked the code. This provides an in with which to piece together the noir elements of the movie, and a welcome break from the sickening violence and the equally sickening reliance on Freudian explanations for Ford’s madness.
The biggest problem that the film has is that all of these ingredients don’t always sit well together. The laudable intention to repulse audiences with Lou Ford’s behaviour are by far and away the greatest aspect of this film, but this is often undermined by shiny noir-esque shots and scenes of snappy banter that are unwittingly working to make this evil man seem appealing once more. Likewise, the character archetypes sit comfortably in their almost inaccessible extremes until a useful flashback to childhood expounds another neat Freudian explanation.
It’s an excellent film which takes some big, brave steps in the crime genre; sadly it stumbles somewhere along it’s journey and isn’t the masterpiece it could be.
This article was first posted on June 4, 2010