Tuesday, March 15, 2011

DVD--The Killer Inside Me

or: Violence...lots of violence.

One word to sum it up: Disturbing.

The Killer Inside Me has everything going for it. It is based on the acclaimed novel by Jim Thompson. It stars Casey Affleck, Kate Hudson and Jessica Alba, who gave particularly good performances. It is helmed by Michael Winterbottom, who also directed A Mighty Heart. It's attention to detail and stylish direction is really fantastic. However, the film itself was so empty. So, so empty. There was just a lot of killing, and when there wasn't a lot of killing there was a lot of sex, and when there wasn't a lot of violence and sex there was...um, not a lot. And, for me, violence and sex can't make a movie work.

The problem with living in a small town is the fact that everyone thinks that they know everyone. But in this case, no one really knows who the true Lou Ford (Casey Affleck) is. On the outside, he appears to be just a normal sheriff's deputy. On the inside, however, he is a disturbed man with a killer instinct. After beating a prostitute (Jessica Alba) he was sent to run out of town, he visits her for daily sex and decides that he may be in love with her. But he is also in a relationship with Amy Stanton (Kate Hudson), who he decides he will elope with later. Just for now, though, he is happy killing people, and as the murders pile up, signs start to point to the seemingly innocent Mr. Ford.

Lou's story is an interesting one, but unfortunately the fact that it is told in first person from his point of view causes a bit of a problem. Because Lou is so unlikeable it makes the film so hard to connect with, and pretty much lost me from the very beginning. It's a good idea, and looking into the mind of a killer is an intriguing way of telling the story. But there's such distance in the character, which just really confused me. There wasn't a clear explanation as to why he did what he did. He was just doing all this stuff and I was like "he is completely nutters!" That, alone, isn't much of an explanation for me. And that was the reason why I didn't find this film as good as I had hoped it would be.

Though the scripting, characters and context are all out of line, there is some amazing cinematography to look at. Gosh, this film was decadent. There is so much attention to detail and Winterbottom was clearly trying to make a classy noir, but there was just everything else which stopped it. I haven't read the source material, but from what I've heard it was supposed to 'unfilmable'. Winterbottom filmed the hell out of it...the actual material just didn't come to the party. However, this film is brutally violent. Not the gruesome kind of violent, just the really painful to watch kind of violence. Both of the leading ladies are involved in this, and it is so horrible to watch that you really start to question what kind of movie this is trying to be. My guess is that, with the amount of sex in this darn thing, probably a porno for sadistic people.

Casey Affleck is also a great reason to watch. His dedication to looking like a cold blooded killer was scary. From what I've seen of him, he looks like a pretty sweet guy, but here is completely devoid of sweetness. He's like the serial killer of the year. Kate Hudson is brilliant. Forget all that romantic comedy stuff she's been doing lately...she is still a fantastic actress. I really liked Amy, too, even if I felt she wasn't really in the movie enough. I don't even know why Jessica Alba won a Razzie for her role in this (but that was helped by her performances in Machete, Valentine's Day and Little Fockers). Sure, at some points she was weak, but she displayed a lot of talent in her role. Simon Baker and Elias Koteas also provided fantastic support. With the performances and direction being top notch, The Killer Inside Me failed to impress me on so many levels, and I just felt like I was watching a very psychotic movie with absolutely no heart.

THE VERDICT: Take the connectivity out of a movie and not even great performances and direction can help it up...The Killer Inside Me is just so empty.

What I hoped for:

What I got:


  1. This one did sound horrible, so I avoided it...

    I do think Casey Affleck is a very good actor though, one just has to look at his work in The Assassination of Jesse James and Gone, Baby Gone, he's great in both of those.

    Even so, I think I'll continue to avoid this one, I'm probably not sadistic enough to enjoy it...

  2. Totally agree with you on the photography, it was extremely beautiful, and one of the highlights for me of the film. I remember writing a feminist piece about this film when I saw it back in September, because it was supposed to be this all 'women-hating' extravaganza, and I totally didn't get that. Just characters than ran back to Ford without an explanation why they should love him, as he was a pretty - and that is putting it lightly - unloveable guy.

    However, I don't think there is too much sex in it. Yeah, it is central to the story - in some ways - but there isn't as much as I first thought there would be, and the way that so many people had gone on about that part of the film.

    The book is awesome though.

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  4. I did not like this at all. Casey Affleck is fantastic again, but half of the film is made up of Ford's flashbacks to love scenes with Alba, and offers very little insight to his motivation for violence. You said it...empty. I have read the novel, and the adaptation is quite close, but there is a series of narrated monologues that reveal so much more. I just have issues with the whole story in general, though. I don't shy away from brutal violence, but none of it served any purpose whatsoever. The glowing reviews for this film, which not surprisingly has divided audiences, puzzle me somewhat. Nice review Stevee.

    Here's my fairly average review from mid last year: http://buckle22.blogspot.com/2010/06/short-review-killer-inside-me-2010.html

  5. Jack - I'd keep on avoiding it. There isn't really much to see.

    Cherokee - Where have you been?! I missed you! I wouldn't call it a 'woman-hating extravaganza'. I mean, sure, this guy did beat the crap out of two women, and he did treat them like shit, but that was just the way he was. Why he was like that, I'll never know. And I really wish I did know.

    Andy - I totally agree with you. It was so empty. I just didn't know what to think of it. Thanks! And I read your review...it said it all!

  6. The backup story to it in the film was kind of lame, though, and just didn't make sense. Most of the time, I don't mind if things don't make sense, and aren't concluded, but with The Killer Inside Me (on film), it just didn't work.

    Still, it should have won something for it's cinematography, or at least have been nominated.

    I totally agree with you on it not being a women-hating film. Because, to me, it didn't come across like that at all.

    And sorry I've been MIA at the moment. I started an apprenticeship at a film company (!!!), so my days have been slogging along for full working weeks.

  7. Yeah, I don't mind things not being concluded either, but I just felt so empty after watching this. And you're right, it should have got something for cinematography!

    You started at a film company?! OMG, that sounds amazing! What's the job like?

  8. Same (at feeling empty), and it's a shame when that happens. It also has a great poster too.

    Well, it's not like a permanent job, it's for 10 months because I have to study for this certificate in something or other, but it's good so far. I got to go on a music video set and stuff, which was nice experience and shows just how much work goes into getting like 2 minutes of footage, and hopefully, I am going to be able to go for a few days on the film the company is directing/producing, which will be awesome.

    But yeah, I'm just doing office stuff atm (and for probably most of my duration there), but it's cool and I actually don't mind office work, it keeps me busy. But for the time I am there, it's gonna be really good experience for me, and a nice touch to my CV!

    I feel lucky living where I do, because we have an industry of sorts, so opportunities are more easy to come by, and where you're based, it's more difficult.

  9. It does have a pretty awesome poster, I must say!

    Wow, that job sounds AWESOME. It must give you like a really huge insight into the world of making videos. Office work isn't too bad. And it will be a nice touch for your CV!

    Jeez, you're job makes my classy job at Blockbuster look so much more unawesome! And yeah, it sucks living where I am. I'll just keep helping my niece make some amateur videos of her cat sleeping :(

  10. Pets are always the best for film footage. Mostly everything I have ever filmed centers around either our family dog, or my cat.

    It has been a good insight into the 'industry' so far I guess, yeah. It's gonna turn out to be some great experience even if it's for a 10 month stint, I was so lucky to get it and am not letting the opportunity pass up!

    What I have gathered (not with thos job, but I mean in general), is you have to make your own luck and just go out and try and do something, even if you have shit all money and in a way, I think you're already doing that with your blog!

  11. Well, I have a few videos of my little cat doing odd things around the house. You know, these days, it takes a cat to make a youtube sensation (or in Rebecca Black's case, autotune.)

    Man, you are very lucky! 10 months is a pretty long time, mind you. And it is going to be an awesome experience!

    Yeah, I've gathered that too. I definitely am!


You mustn't be afraid to dream a little bigger, darling.


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