The Killer Inside Me

Film, Thrillers
0 Love It
Save it
The Killer Inside Me
It’s 1959, West Texas: the sun is beating down and the sheriff’s deputy, Lou Ford (Casey Affleck), is padding the quiet, widescreen streets of smalltown Central City like a model law enforcer, courteous and polite to the passing citizenry and neat in his blouson, tie and – the Southerner’s sacred badge of down-home decency – kidskin boots and wide-brim Stetson. But, he’s walking through Jim Thompson country – the dissembling, rotten home ground of the nihilistic pulp novelist from whose shocking 1952 novel Michael Winterbottom has fashioned his first American movie – and nothing is as it first appears.

The sarcastic faux banalities Lou offers people he meets, for his own light amusement, may betray a more complicated mind than the handsome young detective likes to make plain. He’s also shouldering a tragic past involving a lost brother-in-law which in-the-know locals (including union man Elias Koteas), the city fathers (including Ned Beatty), his secret long-term girlfriend Amy (Kate Hudson) and fellow police colleagues (including Tom Bower’s sheriff) happily connive in keeping buried. But few realise that the man is a walking timebomb. However, the day soon comes when he’s sent to chase off a local prostitute, the beautiful and fiery Joyce (Jessica Alba), and receives the slap that is to trigger in him an explosion of unexpected passion, intricate deceit and murderous self-destruction…

The film arrives on screens heralded by some box-office-boosting bad publicity, with shockwaves emanating from some who have witnessed the film’s face-pulverising, hard-to-stomach bouts of violence. Yet this again-atypical film from Winterbottom, the genre-swapping director of ‘A Mighty Heart’, ‘Genova’ and ‘The Road to Guantanamo’, is a much more sober affair than its early, controversial press might suggest.

Faithful – awfully – to Thompson’s devil’s-résumé-style source text and despairing worldview, it also occupies an emotional space of unnerving calm. The unfussy, if lazily expressive, cinematography (by Winterbottom regular Marcel Zyskind) of familiar ’50s Americana, the unobtrusive set design of jail, courthouse and Texan home, and the relaxed, cowpoke-paced editing are all in concert with it. Together they produce a dirge-like accompaniment to a hypnotic and remarkable central performance by Affleck.

With his other Ford (movie-stealing coward Robert in Andrew Dominik’s retro-western ‘The Assassination of Jesse James…’) and his terrific turn as the Boston cop in his older brother’s underrated ‘Gone Baby Gone’, the younger Affleck is arguably becoming the most compulsively watchable American actor of his generation. He’s capable of saving a pretentious film (‘The Assassination…’), giving a spine to a potentially diffuse one (‘Gone Baby Gone’) and, as here, giving a sense of mystery and plaintive spirituality to a movie that would otherwise seem underpowered and uncertain of its own moral purpose or profundity. There are other good performances to enjoy – notably from Koteas and Alba – but it’s Affleck who justifies the price of your ticket.

By: Wally Hammond


Release details

Rated: 18
Release date: Friday June 4 2010
Duration: 109 mins

Cast and crew

Director: Michael Winterbottom
Screenwriter: John Curran
Cast: Casey Affleck
Kate Hudson
Jessica Alba
Ned Beatty

Average User Rating

2.4 / 5

Rating Breakdown

  • 5 star:0
  • 4 star:4
  • 3 star:2
  • 2 star:5
  • 1 star:0
1 person listening

This is the most repulsive film I have ever seen in my entire life. I don't care if you think this rubbish is even close to art. I literally felt sick to my stomach. Usually a movie conveys meaning no matter how demented. But this? Way past demented. Awful ending. Awful acting. Meaningless amounts of porn. The violence was long and drawn out. This director is sick for making a film like this.

Winterbottom, a sensationalist calculating hack is after controversy and publicity and is trying to sell movie with it. Violence towards women is a major selling point in this dishonest adaption.

Sick. Not to be watched. A bland and stupid movie that will be classed as "art" by sophisticated hot shot critics. Remember, their only objective is to try and seem 20 to 30 points above their subpar IQs. Dont be fooled by them into seeing this. its fine walking out of a sh8T movie, going for dinner, then going on with the rest of your life. But the sickening scenes of downright misogeny. 2 scenes of unnecessarily prolonged, painful, pornographic beatings are what lingered in my mind, and spoilt my dinner. and what makes me hope that the director, as well as the rapists and senators that will enjoy this film, be hacked up in an ally by an escaped schizophrenic. In all seriousness, i really feel those involved in the production of this snuf film (ie the director, producer, editor) should lose their careers. Or at very least, apologise publically. From a guy who loves movies, from Salt to Shrek to Saving Private Ryan to Saw. How dare you, you f'''''' bas'''''. You should be ashamed, and the worst thing is you're not.

People seem to be shocked that a film based on a pulp novel would end up feeling like... a pulp novel. It's sensationalistic, goes for cheap thrills, and it makes you feel vaguely dirty and uncomfortable, yes, but that's sort of the point, isn't it? Casey Affleck held his own very well in this movie I believe. He was interesting as an unreliable narrator and the way he plays the character allows the audience to have moments where they can almost rationalize his actions along with him. That, to me, was a lot more disturbing (and exciting) than the lurid displays of violence.

What a terrible film. I was looking forward to this, but it was a complete and utter lazy mess! It's as if it was made up as it went along. It's just a man spanking women on repeat, the scenes are repetitive, it's as if they ran out of scenes to shoot. The acting was dismal from Alba, she has no facial expression as she is being punched in the face, while saying 'I love you' to the man that's beating her almost to death? As for the attempted 'Tarentino' ending? Terrible. Worst film I've seen since 'The Road'

In most cases, it helps being familiar with the source material. This case is no exception. Most of the folks posting here just don't get it.

A terrible film, plain and simple. Affleck's cold performance leaves the viewer numb. The performances by Alba and Hudson make their characters so hollow that sympathy for the women in the story is the last thing on your mind as you're watching them getting brutally assaulted. Alba's performance is particularly remarkable--how can someone so wonderful to look at be so excruciating to watch? The sexual themes in the film neither explain the protagonist's issues nor do they produce any eroticism that make the film more entertaining. Winterbottom is an excellent director, but this is simply an awful film.

Winterbottom shows again what kind of calculating sensationalist dishonest hack he is. First it was 9 Songs and unsimulated sex and now this movie and it's gratuitous prolonged violence towards women. This director really does anything to gain publicity and deliberately wants to create controversy.

I really enjoyed this film, even though it was violent & brutal, the first murder made me look away & cringe!. There were a few questionable events / mistakes as Silvestrito has pointed out. I thought Casey Affleck played his character really well, I would recommend watching this.

I agree with Silvestrita: this film left me feeling cold and confused. Performances are not good,except for Kate Hudson. We don't get the killer's childhood trauma and he is left to walk free around the town. Casey Affleck and sex scenes are brutally disgusting and not erotic at all. Waste if time,and I only watched as some silly film critic wrote a good review. Don't believe critics!

I had high expectations for this film, its tagline being 'murders without motive'. Is it me or did everyone else find motive behind Lou Ford's killings? Sure, I guess one could argue (albeit convolutedly) the subsequent murders after his first two kills as an adult were merely to cover his tracks [although legally that is still a motive]. Without spoiling too much of the plotline, there was always a reason for his killings. Thumbs up to the make-up team though, the injuries Joyce was subjected to was hauntingly represented. All in all, its not the worse film I've ever seen, but its not a film I would recommend to others either.

The Killer Inside Me is an astoundingly faithful adaptation of Jim Thompson's classic novel. As a film its a first rate thriller and as Thompson adaptation its even better. The film is brutal and shocking but never is it misogynist or does encourage such violence because in this cycle of violence no one gets away clean. Thompson has never been given true justice on screen but Winterbottom understands him to the full and has created a modern noir classic. Thompson would be proud.

A total plot spoiler by Silvestrito in the next post, so skip it if you like to see a film for the first time. I went to see this in part to assess the near hysterical and new puritan backlash against the violence. I do wonder why people go to the cinema and if they only want sugarcoated plot detail, perhaps best they stick to Pixar titles. I did not find the violence particular any worse than other films and wish the puritans stopped their handwringing. As for the film, lacklustre for me, nothing really new or must see about it, but one for a rainy day on dvd.

I usually agree with timeout. But not on this movie. Yes, Casey Affleck is a great actor, and yes the ambience and Photography are well done. That is not enough to make it good. First the girls: Jessica Alba never seems a prostitute to me, on the other side, the nice girlfriend Kate Hudson does. And what I hate the most is the lies. Since they lie to him about the girl'ls dead during the operation he is the number one suspect. So why would they allow him to talk ALONE to the kid in the jail? Nobody listens or checks what he does? The boy doesn't shout? And once he has killed twice nobody watches him? Why do a policeman who knows he is probably a murderer would shoot a man who is running from him yelling for help? Then he spreads his house with gassoline and a police team comes in and nobody smells it???? Really? And they let the victim to go to him, without noticing he has a knive? Just too many mistakes to pretend it is a good film. But most disturbing of all is that I have the feeling the movie wants to make him a sort of hero, and it really troubles me that someone can find this sort of aggressiveness erotic, as some sexual scenes are ment to be. As a woman I am offended.

Brutal, misogynist, cheaply violent and altogether one of the worse movies I've seen. My boyfriend and I both wanted to walk out on several occasions, but were hoping some sort of redemption would come. Unfortunately, it never did.

This film can make very uncomfortable viewing. You'll feel like bolting out the cinema when the first victim meets an unpleasant death. Like "Evie" below has said, there's not much insight into Casey Afflek's character. If some of the violence had been chopped out and the characterisation had been better, maybe it would have made a better movie. Not a disasterous film, but probably not the best you'll ever see. I can't imagine it'll be around for too long, as it's very violent and some people won't even get a ticket despite the fairly good review from Time Out and others. If you’re unsure you’d like this film, get yourself an aisle seat – that way you can make an easy exit if you don’t want to stay.

Sometimes I wish there was a way of unseeing films. The graphic depiction of violence towards women is pretty unpalatable and I don't think there was enough insight or point to the movie to make it justifiable. Uncomfortable viewing if you don't enjoy seeing women being brutally beaten death - even if it is Jessica Alba.  

Horribly violent - and you're spared no detail. Nonetheless, a good film. Worth the 4 stars it's been given.