"Sometimes it's lightest before the dark." (by Quinoa1984)
I was reminded of a review I once read of another film, Roger Ebert's take on Aliens, when finished watching Michael Winterbottom's adaptation of Jim Thompson's nasty pulp novel of the same name. He said of the film that it is extremely, excellently made, with fantastic acting and a sense of mood that is amazing and so on... but that the film also made him uneasy and disturbed. And the Killer Inside Me, most of us can agree, is the latter. It's a kind of traumatic experience once you give yourself in to the character - but I mean this as a compliment. Others, as I have seen so <more>
far in other reviews and feedback on the film, from Sundance to the major critics, are more damning than praising.And I can't blame them. The big controversial scene that has people talking- much like "they" were talking, for example, about last year's Antichrist- is shocking, and brutal, and the way that director Michael Winterbottom and his editor cut the scene, of the main character beating a prostitute to death with his bare hands on her face, made me feel sick to my stomach. And yet, this is, for me, a success in terms of its effectiveness. I didn't feel cheated or laugh unintentionally at the faux-shock value unlike the scenes in Antichrist , because the gaping, horrible space of the character of Lou Ford opened up and for a moment I nearly forgot I was watching a film. The constant apologizing of Ford to his victim, and her own reactions as her end comes near, make it almost unprecedented in its way about it. The film is a pickle to recommend, because it's hard to tell someone "You have to see this movie, it's got like this f***ed up character who beats women to death and keeps covering up his crimes and is slick with those around him and a Sociopath and so on". It's a movie that for those who come it will be able to take from it what they will, as it peers from a first-person perspective Lou Ford, played by Casey Affleck, is in every scene of the film , will get a visceral reaction. I imagine it's hard not to be affected in some way by the film, and this character, which makes Winterbottom and Affleck and everyone else's work in the film so commendable. Not to mention Jim Thompson, the author. Like in other books he's written, and he's written plenty such as my personal favorite A Hell of a Woman , he uses pulp fiction and sleazy characters and intrigue and twists to jump off into what are harrowing stories of the human psyche. Lou Ford is not like a stupid serial killer in a horror movie, and the supporting characters are a little more complex or at least aren't so cookie-cutter as they might be in a slasher. He's got a past that is only so-much hinted at by the director as to get us interested in what happened to him - it's never something as blatant as "Mommy did this or that" but it's more about behavior and fetish, what leaps out underneath a slick, grinning Texas sheriff who is seen as a "good boy" by those around him. The other characters more or less see through him after a while, but Ford only picks up on it in pieces, the glances from others, and his lack of emotion around most people. He's the villain and hero of his own story. We, as the audience, know a little better.It's a sharp script and a cast that is put together wonderfully Jessica Alba at her sexiest, which is part of the point for her character aside from her affection for the cold Ford, and Ned Beatty as the guy who built up the town, plus Elias Koteas as a suspecting Union man who has ties to the deceased characters in the story , but somewhat surprising is Casey Affleck. Once again playing a character by the name of Ford only this time not a Coward, too schizophrenic for that , he's got a high voice and mannerisms that hide little but somehow Affleck gives the guy something... different about him. Somehow a psycho man with little on his mind except hiding his crimes and his sexual predilections comes naturally to Affleck. He's never been an actor to fully give me "WOW!" on my face, until now really. Some things about the film are a little too disturbing or just bizarre I still ponder over the ending, which seems like it could all be inside the mind of the protagonist . And, as mentioned, it's hard to see if the film has a "target" audience. You can't market-research this - it's a chilling, uncompromising neo-noir with sex and violence that is precisely subversive and with a cast that mixes art-house finery with a little Hollywood A-list. For me, for its dark, deep intentions, it hit the spot.
An Early Look at an Impressive new Film (by gradyharp)
THE KILLER INSIDE ME is currently found in the on demand portions of films currently in theaters, and despite the fact that this film will not be released until this Friday, it is so well made and headed for acclaim that encouraging the public to view this film is an obligation for those who have seen it early. The story is difficult for many reasons: the story if terrifyingly real in the manner in which it is related in the first person, and the grisly violence alone will make many a viewer cast down their eyes. Based on the novel by Jim Thompson, the screenplay is one of those singularly <more>
superb pieces of writing by John Curran and director Michael Winterbottom that adapts not only the novel's impact but also employs the lyrics of country western music and the slangy conversation of West Texas in a manner that completely recreates an atmosphere that makes the story even more compelling. Lou Ford Casey Affleck, in a performance that shouts Oscar is the town sheriff assisting the alcoholic and aging Sheriff Bob Maples Tom Bower . Lou is a typically polite, courteous, gentlemanly 'good-ol'-boy', respected and admired by everyone in his Podunk town. But there is something strange about Lou, something quietly dark that only is seen in his relationships with his girlfriend Amy Kate Hudson : sadism is part of their physical moments. Lou is asked to run a prostitute out of town, a young girl Joyce Jessica Alba who lives in a small house on the outskirts of town where she quietly services the 'reputable men' - one of whom is Elmer Conway Jay R Ferguson , an old schoolmate of Lou's who is inheriting his wealthy father Chester Conway's Ned Beatty mammoth construction business. Lou visits Joyce and despite some turns of sadistic behavior bonds with her and begins to see her on a regular basis. When the elder Conway wants Lou to help rid the town and his son's reputation of Joyce, a blackmail scheme ensues that leads to dire circumstances. Lou's 'killer inside' comes out and he calmly murders both Joyce and Elmer and then finds ways to cover the incident. He makes some errors in judgment that involve an old friend Johnnie Pappas Liam Aiken and a bum on the street Brent Briscoe and talks too much with labor union leader Joe Rothman Elias Koteas until his involvement is questioned by an investigator Simon Baker . His home life with Amy is strained and Amy's presence begins to get in the way of Lou's sadistic behavior breaks until the entire situation becomes a crisis that ends in a bizarre manner. Casey Affleck embodies the dark aspects of Lou with a completely realized portrayal: despite his crimes we stay with him, much the way the townsfolk do. His is one of those performances that stays with the viewer long after the film is over. The exceptional cast is excellent down to the smallest role. Director Winterbottom gives us a West Texas atmosphere that is pure dust and heat and Midwestern politeness and ritual. He adds some elements to the story that make the character of Lou even more unreal: often in Lou's moments alone in his house the background music is classical music - Mahler's Symphony No. 2 Resurrection and Strauss's haunting 'Four Last Songs' as sung by Elizabeth Schwarzkopf I believe . It is a magical touch with another world outside the confines of the story. Though many viewers may find the degree of physical violence severely disturbing, the manner in which it happens makes Lou's dark side more credible and allows us to believe the ending. It is a difficult film, but it is one of the finer films of the year. Grady Harp
Violet yes, sexual yes brilliant yes. The story is great, and the cast is just remarkable in their parts. I really loved this film, from the get go it captures you with sexual tension and those uncomfortable moments that often go where you least expect. This movie takes you where you don't expect to go, it is out of the box Hollywod, you might guess and you might think you know but you will be wrong. Jessica Alba is amazing, Kate Hudson is the perfect balance to the Alba character and Casey Afleck is just remarkable and really very disturbing.Well worth seeing, this is right up there is <more>
Momento in as far a classic and well played modern film noir. Well done! Thanks for the gift of this little film. T
Difficult to watch, but an engaging film (by Rachel)
I'd read about the controversies, and I was apprehensive about watching - but I am a fan of Michael Winterbottom and thought the debates I'd heard about the film warranted giving it a proper viewing.As a note: I'm one of those people who 'jump' at the slightest thing during a film. I even asked the guy taking the tickets on the way in - is this going to make me jump, he laughed and said 'umm well, it's not easy to watch'.I didn't though, what I did find - was that the film was difficult to watch during certain scenes, extremely difficult on occasion in <more>
fact, someone in the row behind actually ran out during one scene .But I didn't feel that the film glamorised violence, in fact - it demonstrated what result of real violence actually is and it isn't people jumping up at the last second after being beaten to a pulp and shooting the perpetrator .I haven't read the base novel, but have heard that it was considered unfilmable - this film was extremely watchable and engaging.Kudos to Casey Affleck, Jessica Alba and Kate Hudson for their performances.I find it hard to summarise my experience watching this film - but it was totally engaging, abhorrent yet funny on occasion.That is the kind of experience I expect from a well made, thought provoking film.
Very brave and new spin on film noir (by MovieMaddis)
Very few times have I appreciated subtle spoilers for films prior to seeing them but this would be one of those exceptions. Without ruining anything, you should know there are several scenes of explicit violence against women yes plural in this movie. This is NOT a date movie, in fact this may be the one that puts a horse apple right in the punch bowl of your date night if you even think of taking a lady. That said, it was thought provoking and while the ending did seem to be tacked on, the bulk of the film was stylish and formidable. Casey Affleck has held the screen more prominently since <more>
Gone, Baby Gone. He has a sense of himself as an actor that allows the camera to simply observe instead of leading the way. I don't know many actors that could have pulled this off as well as he does here. Jessica Alba seethes and burns up the screen with sexuality. Unfortunately Kate Hudson looks like a plum pulled right out of the corn field and adds little more than some "what the heck happened to her" moments when she is on screen. The big problem I would argue is the plot. The whole movie is built upon one contrivance after another and some off-screen plot twist such as how a person in jail is able to commit suicide under the watchful eye of the jailer is an aggravation to the viewer who has committed to sitting through to the end. The good news is that the on-screen sequences are great in and of themselves. It all feels like a snapshot of history mixed with neo-noir violence. Everything from the sweat stained undershirt to the Howdy Doody road signage is accounted for and it adds a great deal of authenticity to the narrative. I think you would have to file this one under "Not for Everyone" category and leave it at that. I enjoyed it and will recommend, although only to a select few.Maddis
Casey Affleck does a superb job as a mild mannered deputy sheriff who like to beat the women he cares for. The violence is shocking at first sight. We are given only brief glimpses into the causes. The overall cast is solid. The film raises the question of what could cause human nature to become so twisted and remorseless. I found the first viewing to be deeply disturbing. I appreciated the acting more the second time. Affleck is polite and softspoken throughout, which adds to the psychotic nature of his actions. He shows good potential for work to come, making the viewer want to see him in <more>
to complain that "The Killer Inside Me" is full of misogynistic violence is a little like reading "Moby-Dick" and objecting to all the stuff about whaling (by chrisrolfny)
They read books don't they?I have a little habit on this site especially when I am unfamiliar with a films content, its director or writer. I look at the IMDb viewer reviews, starting by filtering them with the "hated it" box checked. If people have a good solid reason for hating a film or disliking it, a reason of substance, then I read 1 or 2 of "the bests" but consider twice whether I want to watch it. In the case of this film, I'd already seen it. I looked at the viewer reviews because it was an adaptation of a Jim Thompson novel and I wanted to see how people <more>
reacted. Especially because I was surprised, having seen it, by the films low rating.For those of you who know nothing of Thompson's work I direct you to the Wikipedia article on him. In it, Steven King who I assume most people on this site know as he wrote the IMDb rated #1 film of all time, "The Shawshank Redemption" said he "most" admired Thompson specifically for three lets... "he let himself see everything, he let himself write it down, then he let himself publish it".Now I know that the ratings here can be a little skewed. For example, is Inception really the 6th greatest film ever made. Is "Sin City" a better movie than say "Jaws", "Blade Runner" or "The Wizard of Oz" or any number of extraordinary foreign entry's. In the IMDb world virtually every episode of every TV show ever made is always ranked higher than any feature. Look at Jessica Alba's work sorted by rating... Could every episode of Dark Angel have really been that good? Maybe it just means that IMDb viewers prefer short form fiction to the long form. Or as the editor of New York Magazine is quoted to have addressed his staff, "I don't want anything in this rag I can't read in one good crap".Its a foregone conclusion that lot of people who frequent IMDb spend a good portion of their time being visually entertained and they might not have enough time left to peruse the printed work as much as they aught; Maybe not even enough time to search out some intelligent criticism before they make their viewing choices. But the number of 1 star, I hated it, reviews for this film defy all reason. Sure the subject matter is inherently offensive. But as Andrew O'Hehir said in his Salon.com review, to hate this faithful delivery of Jim Thompson's book, or to complain that "The Killer Inside Me" is full of misogynistic violence is a little like reading "Moby-Dick" and objecting to all the stuff about whaling.Maybe if people read a little about a film before they invest their 2 bucks and 2 hours they could avoid subjecting themselves to films they won't like and spare us all their trenchant voicing of how they hated London because their vacation there was ruined when it rained the whole damn time they were there.Paris would be great too, if they spoke more English and... "if you wanted the steak 'why'd ya order the duck"?This is A GREAT FILM great film, unerringly faithful to its decidedly American literary roots, with great performances by some great actors. And if you find Jessica Alba so one dimensional you want to kill her, maybe that's the point.Other suggested recent American Rural Noirs of note: Winters Bone 2010 The Frozen River 2008 To see what a more lyrical Mexican voice has added to the genre: The Three Burials of Melquiades Estrada 2005 The Burning Plain 2008 And of course the Cohen's brilliant noirs: No Country For Old Men 2007 Blood Simple 1984 Lastly, there is always Tavernier's beautifully exuberant french adaptation of Thompson's "Pop. 1280", "Coup de Torchon", with the story moved from North Carolina to French West Africa. There is a likable comic buffoon in Noiret's playing of the character a little at odds with Thompson's... but if you don't like the French, stay out of the kitchen.
Solid, but undeniably brutal and dark. (by lewiskendell)
"The trouble of growing up in a small town is everybody thinks they know who you are."I was initially interested in The Killer Inside Me because I'm a fan of both Casey Affleck and Jessica Alba, but I soon became even more intrigued by what I was reading in the early reviews about how brutal it is. And it is brutal. I don't mean the over the top, fanciful gore-drenched brutality of a movie like Saw, I mean the kind of realistic, stomach- churning violence that isn't easy to watch. This movie is definitely not for everyone, as a result. I just thought I'd put that <more>
disclaimer out there.The story is about a 29 year-old sheriff deputy named Lou Ford who leads a double life. He's a sadistic, violent, disturbed man who hides his true nature under the gentlemanly, courteous reputation he has amongst the denizens of the Texas town he's lived in since he was born. An encounter with a local prostitute triggers the violent urges in him that have been somewhat buried, and a cascade of murders upon murders result as he tries to cover his tracks and avoid the scrutiny of a district attorney who is deeply suspicious of him. I though Affleck was great in this. The guy is just a natural actor, and he pulls off both the unnerving psychopath and small town local aspects of the character. I wanted Ford to get caught for his utterly despicable actions, yet I still found myself feeling anxious whenever he seemed in danger of being found out. If that's not a compliment of Casey's performance, I don't know what could be. Alba was good in her somewhat limited role, and it was a pretty risk choice for her to tackle a part like this where so much violence was directed at her character. Kate Hudson also does well in a role that very different from much of her recent work, and Simon Baker rounds out the main cast with a solid performance as the district attorney.I was drawn into this movie from the opening credits. If you're not put off by the violence and the sex often mixed together , The Killer Inside Me is well worth watching. I thought the ending wasn't pulled off as well as the rest of the film was, but that's really my only complaint. Recommended.
Fascinating but disturbing film noir (by preppy-3)
This takes place in the 1950s and was adapted from a novel published in 1952. Lou Ford Casey Affleck is the sheriff of a small southern town called Central City. Everybody likes him and he seems like a quiet, laid-back kind of guy--but something inside him makes him kill people. He kills a woman and a guy and sets it up to look like a double murder...but people suspect something is up and Lou finds himself slowly getting sucked into being accused.A combination of a character study and film noir. Most of the film is narrated by Ford so you're able to find out what he's thinking and <more>
why he's doing it. There are no clear answers why he kills but there are plenty of clues. It's film noir but most of it takes place on bright sunshiny days--clearly at odds with the dark tone of the film. The production design is great--this does look like the 1950s. There is violence and it's VERY sick and disturbing but there's not a lot of it. But when it does hit it's brutal. There's plenty of sex also some of it is S&M but it's not explicit--most of it is shot from the chest up. Affleck is incredible in his role. He acts and looks like such a sweet nice guy that when the violence erupts it's shocking. Seriously--this is one of THE best performances of 2010. Also the supporting roles are full of talented actors--Jessica Alba OK--she's NOT talented but she's OK here , Kate Hudson, Ned Beatty, Elias Koteas and Simon Baker.In the negative the film is a little too long--I found the last 20 minutes or so very anti-climatic. Also Affleck's accent was a problem. He adopts a heavy southern accent here--and I had trouble making out some of his lines! I had to keep replaying certain scenes because I couldn't figure out what he was saying! Still I found this fascinating but disturbing. The graphic violence and sex might be too much for some people but, if you can handle that, I recommend this movie. I give it an 8.