Jay R. Ferguson
Running Time: 109 minutes
US Certificate: R UK Certificate: 18
Country: United States
Whenever a murderer has been caught and an egg-shaped neighbour is being interviewed on the news, we are always treated to the same rent-a-quote – “Oh, he was such a quiet lad. Kept himself to himself. Didn’t think he could do anything like that”. The Killer Inside Me is the story of one such nice lad who, unfortunately for others, doesn’t walk around advertising his extra-curricular activities on a sandwich board.
Michael Winterbottom’s movie is based on the novel by Jim Thompson which follows the apparently unremarkable, clean cut Deputy Sheriff Lou Ford (Casey Affleck). On the surface he’s a charming, handsome cop with a few minor women and law-and-order troubles and a pretty girlfriend (Hudson). However, the man in question is actually a vicious psychopath with a tangled past. When Ford meets beautiful prostitute Joyce (Alba), his dark inner beast is released and as the murder toll begins to mount up in his West Texas jurisdiction, he begins to run out of alibis.
The violence portrayed on-screen really is shocking but over the years we’ve become too desensitised by the amount of PG-13 sanitised violence we see and it’s refreshing to see a film really bring home the raw barbarity of murder. Some may say it glorifies violence against women but it really doesn’t as it is told from the lead character’s obviously skewed point of view. You do not always have to root for the main man. For those who’ve complained and thrown their toys out of the pram about this, if you are going to see a film called “The Killer Inside Me”, it’s not going to be about a colony of fluffy Amish bunny rabbits. Anyway, I found Watership Down to be a lot more disturbing.
Casey Affleck is excellent and portrays the schizophrenic peaceful and psychotic sides of Ford’s personality with chilling authenticity. The younger Affleck is now far out-doing his brother Ben – aka ‘The Walking Chin” – and is building up an impressive CV, including Gone Baby Gone (in fairness he was directed pretty decently by Ben) and Ocean’s Eleven (forget the other two). Jessica Alba and Kate Hudson are serviceable as Ford’s unfortunate women but they are not really given too much to work with as, through Ford’s eyes, they are seen as nothing more than objects.
It's Got: Casey Affleck in fine form, strong unsanitised violence.
It Needs: To be seen from the lead character's point of view.
Alternatives:American Psycho, Gone Baby Gone, The Deliberate Stranger
Forget the controversy surrounding the brutal violence, The Killer Inside Me is a well-acted, thought provoking film noir impressively told from the twisted point of view of a serial killer.