The Killer Inside Me (R18)

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The ViewAuckland Review

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Review byMatthew Turner3/06/2010

Four out of Five stars
Running time: 109 mins

Beautifully shot, superbly written and genuinely chilling, this is a gripping noir thriller with a terrific central performance from Casey Affleck.

What's it all about?
Directed by Michael Winterbottom, The Killer Inside Me is based on the 1952 pulp thriller by novelist Jim Thompson and stars Casey Affleck as Lou Ford, a smalltown deputy sheriff in 1950s Texas, who's involved with local rich girl Amy Stanton (Kate Hudson). When Lou is asked to evict beautiful prostitute Joyce Lakeland (Jessica Alba) as a favour to town boss Chester Conway (Ned Beatty), a spot of mutual roughhousing soon turns into a full-blown affair.

However, despite his feelings for Joyce, Lou brutally beats her to death as part of an elaborate revenge plan against the Conways, who he believes are responsible for the death of his foster brother. As the web tightens around him, Lou keeps his cool, despite the increasing suspicions of both Amy and District Attorney Howard Hendricks (Simon Baker).

The Good
Casey Affleck is terrific as Ford, delivering a chilling performance that is utterly hypnotic while masking his inner psychopath with a folksy charm and a curiously high-pitched voice. The supporting cast (including Elias Koteas, Bill Pullman and Brent Briscoe) are equally good and it's a testament to Winterbottom's skills as a director that he gets career-best performances out of two of Hollywood's worst actresses, Kate Hudson and Jessica Alba.

The script is extremely faithful to Thompson's novel, retaining Ford's narration and allowing for some enjoyably pulpy dialogue. It's also beautifully shot, courtesy of cinematographer Marcel Zyskind, while the production design work is impeccable, convincingly recreating 1950s smalltown Texas.

The Great
The film has already drawn a lot of attention for its brutal depiction of violence and it's fair to say that the beating scenes are both disturbing and horrific – Alba's character, for example, literally gets beaten to a bloody pulp. However, the scenes are also realistic and arguably more responsibly portrayed than most scenes of this nature – this is not Hollywood, action-movie-style violence and neither is the film revelling in the violence against women; it's meant to be shocking and sickening and as such, its place in the film is justified.

Worth seeing?
If you can stomach the violence, The Killer Inside Me is an impressively directed, superbly written noir thriller with a pitch-perfect performance by Casey Affleck. Highly recommended.

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The Killer Inside Me (R18)
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Content updated: 21/11/2019 23:29

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