Film Review: The Killer Inside Me

Casey Affleck
Casey Affleck
Jessica Alba
Jessica Alba

The Killer Inside Me is director Michael Winterbottom's remake of the 1976 film and based on the book by Jim Thompson of the same name. It is about an amiable small town deputy sherrif Lou Ford (Casey Affleck) who is actually a sadistic killer. After killing his prostitute girlfriend (Jessica Alba) he finds it necessary to kill half a dozen people more to cover the crime. On the face of it, it sounds like fun! The Texas setting, the mind of the serial killer, all that western politesse and the underlying violence it conceals.

Truman Capote's In Cold Blood came to mind, along with Cormac McCarthy's All the Pretty Horses. All right, i'm overdoing it, but ultimately this film fails and mainly on the performance of Casey Affleck. With his monotone, almost somnambulistic performance, and that annoying whiny accent he fails to take us into the mind of the serial killer and his performance seems wooden. An opportunity lost but his performance had its moments, i partcularly liked the way, in one of the most violent sections of the movie, he pauses to take a breath displaying just what hard work it is beating women to death.

Oh, did I mention the violence? For fans of sadomasochistic sex bordering on snuff, this film has much to appeal. A film like this must represent the savagery of the killer, true, but this film's long, lingering shots of people being beaten to a pulp and the overt way that sexuality is bound with this violence, particularly against women - almost all of them in the film, does make me agree with reported condemnations by women's groups. It does seem voyeuristic and gratuitous. Having said this, Jessica Alba gives a good performance here although she is mostly used in what amounts to soft core pornograpy for most of her time one the screen.

However she does a great job in being complicit in his sadomasochistic urges. The scene in which he beats her (almost) to death, is all the more powerful because she continues to profess her love for him during the grisly ordeal.

Ultimately this movie is a disappointment - particularly Casey Affleck's performance. In the end we don't care about the characters or the plot and are only left with some rather brutal scenes of sex and violence as a recommendation for watching this at all.


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