Tuesday, 6 July 2010

The Killer Inside Me - Review

Besides the 2006 left-field comedy, A Cock and Bull Story, my knowledge of Michael Winterbottom's career is shamefully quite limited. However, having wowed audiences on the festival circuit earlier this year, his latest film, The Killer Inside Me is leaving a course of controversy behind it I may just have to take a quick look at his back catalogue.

Deputy Sheriff Lou Ford (Casey Affleck) is a pillar of the community in his small Texas town, patient and apparently thoughtful. As the audience is subjected to his chequered past and even patchier present, as to be expected, all is not what it seems. In an almost Shakespearian narrative Ford's path is blighted with lustful affairs, brutal murders and unjust blackmail.

Though the story was simple, elegant and beautifully executed, it does not make for easy viewing for more casual audiences, and not to be recommended as the ideal choice for a first date. Often having slight reminiscence of David Cronenberg's A History of Violence.

Casey Affleck's performance is unsettling as it is frightfully compelling. Slick, charming, non-offensive but has the ability to deliver a curve ball to the audience with his brutal misogynistic attitude towards his stunningly sexy co-stars, Jessica Alba and Kate Hudson.

The classy supporting turns from Tom Bower, Simon Baker, Elias Koteas and Bill Pullman also lifted the production from a bog standard, expensive TV-Movie affair into a chilling piece of independent cinema.

One aspect of The Killer Inside Me which was brilliant, was its ability to take its taboo subject matters and almost take the edge off with these, middle-of-the-road, period music pieces. One could argue it was extremely Tarantino in its approach.

Unfortunately the film was victim of perhaps being just as erratic and incoherent as its central character. Maybe it was a case of cinema fatigue on this critic's part but there were times which left me wondering if I had taken a complete mind-blank as the transitions between Ford's twisted scenarios just blended together without any real explanation. Furthermore the bleak west-country Americana setting was also painfully dull in parts.

It could have worked better as an AMC 6 part drama in the vein of Mad Men and Breaking Bad but that's surely a thought for another day.

Final Thoughts
Casey Affleck's deranged serial killer is just as chilling as the Hannibal Lecters and Patrick Batemans to come before him. Yes it's brutal, and uneasy viewing in parts but truthfully I've seen far worse in films such as Lars Von Trier's Antichrist and Gasper Noe's Irreversible, and in comparison The Killer Inside Me was not nearly as visually compelling. One thing's for sure, I wouldn't list it in my Top 5 Films for Valentine's Day...


See This If You Liked...
American Psycho, A History of Violence, Silence of the Lambs.

The Killer Inside Me is in selected cinemas across the UK now.

1 comment:

rtm said...

From the moment I first read about this movie and saw the trailer, I knew I won't be able to handle this. "Casey Affleck's deranged serial killer is just as chilling as the Hannibal Lecters and Patrick Batemans to come before him" I did see Silence of the Lambs and American Psycho but I don't think my nerves can handle similar stuff like that again. I do admire Casey's acting chops though, he's so hugely underrated although acting-wise he's definitely more convincing than his brother Ben. I much prefer Ben to be behind the camera as he's a talented director, so Gone Baby Gone was a perfect collaboration.