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The Killer Inside Me review

by Toni Garden. Published Mon 07 Jun 2010 16:37, last updated: 20/07/10

Having been dubbed the 'King of Disturbance,' Michael Winterbottom delivers a donkey punch blow in his latest offering, The Killer Inside Me.

Adapted for screen by Pulp writer Jim Thompson's 1952 novel of the same name, we join local sheriff, Lou Ford as the slow drawling narrator of this merciless tale of murder.

Trusted and well liked in his town, Lou is sent to deliver a gentle word of warning to newly arrived prostitute, Joyce (played with a perfect the mix of sexuality and the obedient submissive by Jessica Alba).

His gentle voice delivers a reprimand but is met with a feisty response and although Lou seems gentle in his resistance, the intensity grows between them and results in Lou retaliating not in defence, but because they both seem to quite enjoy the thrill of Lou’s leather belt.

An opening that sets the tone of the rest of the film, the unflinching sadomasochistic nature of Lou and Joyce’s relationship becomes justified as love in their minds by their sexual appetite for one another.

Texas in the 50s seems the perfect setting for murder and the deputy sheriff is just the right man for the job.

Small town grudges are justifiable for a man to kill the prostitute he loves and pin her murder on her wealthiest client, who incidently is the son of the man that had a hand in the death of the murderer's brother.

That’s a small town for you; Vengeance is always on hand.

Casey Affleck takes on the sinister Lou Ford, his whisper of a drawling Texan accent and blank, blue eyes give him an unsettling screen presence.

The angular but baby faced Affleck can appear the trustworthy boy next door that any mother would be happy to have their daughter walked home by, but the too controlled and self assured edge that is carried with the blank stare gives for a chilling performance.

Lou’s public persona of the trusted local boy is further separated from his sadomasochistic relationship with Joyce by his trusting girlfriend, Amy (played perfectly by Kate Hudson who shows her worth as the wholesome local girl who dabbles in glamour to please her man).

What shouldn’t be mistaken about this film is that Lou is killing women for the hell of it, but it is not an American Psycho story, (although Bateman and Ford are similar with their public and private persona’s) the homicide numbers only increase as Lou finds himself getting caught in an unravelling web of his own making.

Winterbottom has drawn out the violence, in an equally merciless assault on his audience as Lou makes on Joyce; each blow unmissed and not masked with cinematic tricks.

Sure Jessica Alba’s face ends up unrecognisable and in pieces but this isn’t what people are getting their knickers in a twist over, it’s the fact that they have been made to watch, their choice to use their imaginations taken away.

Perhaps Michael Winterbottom didn’t need to take it so far, but without the 'controversial' scenes this wouldn’t be the same film and wouldn’t be so wrongly... right?


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