The Killer Inside Me (2010)
7/10 He-Man Woman Haters
It’s a Southern Fried American Psycho that makes Patrick Bateman look like Atticus Finch.
The Killer Inside Me follows a 1950′s Deputy Sheriff in a small Texas town who’s played the role of upstanding do-gooder in the public eye for as long as anyone can remember, but thanks to a mean personal grudge against the local oil tycoon and a warped upbringing that’s developed into an insatiable appetite for rough sex, our good ol’ boy’s dark side starts creeping to the surface as the body count rises and no one but the victims know where to point the finger.
So I’m kinda torn about this movie right now. Managed to go into it blind without knowing a damn thing about what I was setting myself up for, and while I can’t help but love so much of what it has to offer, folks, this here is one sick puppy.
It’s the latest effort by director Michael Winterbottom, a guy whose work I’m terribly unfamiliar with outside of the awesome 24 Hour Party People, and while this movie is wildly different in every way from that one, boy, does he know what he’s doing. This here is film noir through and through, a dark, no-frills, straight-up sinister trip through one man’s psychosis that gets real bad real fast and only shows signs of improvement right before things get even worse. Right up my alley. And it looks great, I thought it flowed perfectly even though I can see how some folks might think it drags here and there, and Winterbottom makes for a swell compliment to Jim Thompson’s badass source material even if there are times where you just wish the camera would cut the hell away, but I’ll get to that in a minute.
Our said closet killer Deputy Sheriff Lou Ford is played by Casey Affleck, and even after liking him in Gone Baby Gone and hearing great things about him in The Assassination of Jesse James by the Coward Robert Ford (what a terrible title), it wasn’t until now that I realized that he’s kinda the shit. He’s very unbecoming and he doesn’t look the part of a cold stone homicidal maniac, but that’s acually the whole point of why he works in the role and why he keeps dodging one bullet after another. Dude’s got nerves of steel and he gives one hell of a subtle, crazed performance to boot. Lou Ford is an endlessly twisted and strangely fascinating guy to watch and, truth be told, big brother Ben could afford to start taking notes.
Also features Jessica Alba and Kate Hudson in some pretty racy and surprisingly non-shitty roles as Ford’s main squeezes. Couldn’t believe it when they popped up on-screen and ended up being good because it’s sure been a long time comin’ for those two. More power to ‘em.
But here’s the thing about The Killer Inside Me, the thing that’s gonna be the dealbreaker for a lot of people who go to see this – it is totally, totally fucked up.
Nowadays, movie violence doesn’t do a whole lot to phase me and, more often than not, can usually be written off as shock value for the sake of shock value. No big deal, seen it all before. But then this movie comes along and leaves my jaw on the floor, utterly shocked and appalled at some of the most vicious displays of mysoginistic brutality that I nearly checked my ticket to make sure I hadn’t just walked into a snuff film. I’m sure that it was doubly surprising not knowing that this was waiting for me ahead of time, but even if you’ve read the source material or have already heard all about it from your friend who works at the indie theater downtown, there’s really nothing you can hear or think up to prepare yourself for what could easily pass as torture porn.
And that’s why I’m torn about this movie. It’s easy to give it a 7 because it’s so well-made, it’s so unabashedly morose and the acting is just fantastic, but those select few scenes where the killer comes out are some of the most offensive and borderline nauseating displays of violence against women that have ever been put to screen. Really hard to justify their presence outside of how they bring certain characters’ true colors to the surface, but if this little tirade has been enough to put you off from seeing it, just keep on movin’, the positives will not outweight the negatives for ya’ on this one.
With that being said, The Killer Inside Me definitely isn’t for everyone and it might not be for all the pulp novel and Chinatown junkies it’s aimed at either, but for all its faults, I couldn’t help but really like everything else. Don’t get me wrong, parts of it are nearly impossible to condone if it weren’t for the sake of character development- and even that’s pushing it – but this isn’t a movie you’re likely to forget whether you hate it, love it or just wish you’d never seen it in the first place. Very good writing, very good directing and very good acting, just a totally wacko source material that is followed a bit too religiously at times.
Oh, and there’s a Bill Pullman cameo. Can’t forget that.