I think big brother Ben may be a whole lot nicer now.
Sheriff Deputy Lou Ford (Casey Affleck) has a bunch of problems. Woman problems. Law enforcement problems. An ever-growing pile of murder victims in his West Texas jurisdiction. However, he gets so caught-up with one of his victims, that it throws him a curve to the point of where he’s getting closer and closer to being found out. It’s only a matter of time until he loses total control.
Serial killer movies are hard to do. Sometimes, they can be lovable right from the start (American Psycho). While other times, they can totally miss their mark and be something you’d much rather not waste your time in watching (Mr. Brooks). This falls somewhere in between.
This is a film directed by Michael Winterbottom, a guy who seems all over the place when it comes to his films with comedic picks like 24 Hour Party People, to soft-core porno flicks like 9 Songs, and then to dark drama’s like A Might Heart. Basically, this guy has no real genre and that’s pretty neat. He doesn’t have any real sense of distinctive style or look, but he brings a lot of zealous-energy to everything he chooses, it’s almost too hard to talk bad about anything that he does. But that’s also why I liked this movie because he brings something atmospheric and moody to it all. He definitely has the perfect feel for the dark, hot American West because he shows it in such a noir style that really pulls you in from the start. There is a story to be told here, but this is more all about one dark, sinister trip into the mind of a psycho where everything starts off bad, goes to worse, gets better, and then just gets even more worse than before. Great job from Winterbottom, as he definitely makes up for the movie’s big faults.
Those big faults I’m talking about, lie within the story here. The story actually starts off pretty strong because you feel like you know where it’s going to go and build-up from there, but the problem is that the story isn’t as interesting as you may have mapped it out in your head. Some parts are cool and interesting once we see inside the mind of our closet killer, but whenever that doesn’t happen, the film focuses on how Lou tries to hide away from all of the accusations that are being thrown at him and curiosities he can smell off of everybody he’s around. This isn’t nearly as interesting as the stuff that goes on inside of his head and instead of being thrilling and unpredictable, the actual mystery tale is just there to provide a story for our lead.
Now, to my real problem with this film. In case you haven’t already heard about this flick: this flick is really, really fucked up. Without getting into any spoiler area, two disturbing acts of violence happen to two main characters here and the one thing that really got me here was that the camera never once pans away from it. In today’s world of movie violence, most stuff doesn’t phase me or even get to me because 9 times out of 10; it’s usually just shock value, done for the sake of shock value. That’s never worked on me and probably never will but the violence here feels real and needed to enhance the story, as if it almost pertains to the story and the way this guy feels and thinks. However, I think that’s my biggest problem with this flick.
I can’t really say that I hold anything against this film for showing me some violence that was disturbing, but I can say that it definitely made me think differently about it all because those were the only things left in my mind about this film. It’s some hard stuff to swallow, and as good as the rest of the film may be, I couldn’t help but keep on bringing my mind back to those violent scenes. It’s not like it doesn’t fix well with everything else, it just stuck in my mind more than all else happening. Still, have to give Winterbottom the benefit of the doubt for not panning away once during these scenes and making us actually see the brutality of these grim scenes. On the other hand, I think it also got to me after awhile and may have been more memorable than the actual flick itself. Good for some movies; not good for this.
Actually, he second most memorable aspect of this flick would probably have to go to Casey Affleck and his amazing performance as Lou Ford. It’s obvious, right from the start, that Lou has some pretty fucked up ideas in his head but somehow, Affleck is able to make that sexy and interesting through it all. Affleck doesn’t really look like the kind of dude you could put in the role of a closeted maniac, but I think that’s why he works so well here because he’s able to be subtle about his emotions and feelings throughout the movie, but also totally show how vicious he can be when he has to turn on the “crazy meter”. Affleck has never been that actor that people have been feeling the total and complete need to see in movies, but here, he demands your undivided attention and devotion, even when his character is just sitting there, thinking of who to hack-up next. Lou Ford is a great character to watch and makes the film a whole lot better, mainly because of Affleck’s kick-ass performance. He surely has come a long way since being “Big Ben’s little bro”.
Also, I was surprised to see Jessica Alba and Kate Hudson in some pretty down-and-dirty roles that I usually wouldn’t see myself watching them in. But what was even more of a surprise was how good they actually were. They both play Ford’s main ladies and each show a different side to his love, and both work very well. Been awhile since the last time I’ve seen them actually do something worth recommending so I have to give them some love and kudos right here and now. Oh, and there’s a pretty gnarly Bill Pullman cameo here as well. Can’t ever forget about that dude.
Consensus: With a dark and grimly style to make everything moodier and strong performances from the cast, mainly a terrifying Affleck, The Killer Inside Me feels like it has all the right ingredients for a dark and sinister trip in the head of a maniac, but it’s over-shadowed by two appalling scenes of violence and the story doesn’t really grab you, unless its focusing on Affleck’s character.
6.5 / 10 = Rental!!
Casey Affleck is a pretty great actor from what I’ve seen. Glad to see he gives a great performance here.
He gives an amazing one. Keeps the film going too.
Solid review bro. I’ve always wondered about this movie but Ive never seen it. Sounds like I haven’t missed a lot but I still may give it a watch at some point.
It’s worth a watch if you are still interested. Thanks!
I watched this movie about a year ago and was super excited for it because I love Casey Affleck. I loved him in “Gone Baby Gone” and “The Assassination of Jesse James By The Coward Robert Ford” and I thought he was good in this film, but I just wish his character was drawn out a bit more. I wish they gave him a bit more depth, more development. I felt like I was watching a glorified snuf film.
I wished so too. He was by far the best aspect of the whole movie, and I just wish they gave him more to deal with.
I’m been meaning to watching this so I just skimmed through your review. I’ve had a few people suggesting it after I had review Gone Baby Gone saying this is a great performance from Casey Affleck’s. I look forward to seeing it 🙂
Affleck was outstanding here. I got right into this but it became a bit over the top towards the end and left me unsatisfied. I thoroughly enjoyed it up that point though.
Nice review! I liked this when I saw it and thought Affleck was superb. He has developed into a really good actor. I thought the violence was brutal, as you say, but we’re so conditioned to the camera cutting away before things get ‘too’ nasty it’s a surprise that Winterbottom goes all the way with it. I found it really uncomfortable to watch, but think that’s a good thing. I don’t think it’s healthy for films to say “yeah, this is about a brutally violent character…only we’re not going to actually show you how brutal the violence is”. Too many films are made where violence is included to titillate the audience and then not actually shown in full, which makes me question whether they’re dealing with the subject properly; at least with this film I felt satisfied that the director was trying to engage with the subject of violence in a meaningful way, instead of happily including violent actions safe in the knowledge he can cut away when the going gets too tough.
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Agree with all the comments on Affleck being great (as he almost always is these days, one of the few actors that can lure me into a theatre even if I would otherwise skip a movie). As so many of Michael Winterbottom’s films, it has an edge of experiment about it that I always find rewarding, I would never miss one of the films he’s doing even though plot or cast may not to my taste. He is interesting and ambitious in his approach to story-telling, and you will always get something that you haven’t seen before. Those two reasons (Winterbottom and Affleck) are reason enough to check out “Killer Inside Me”, even though I agree that there are flaws and that putting this eerie character at the heart of the film may even have been a mistake. Still: better watch that kind of flawed effort rather than another off-the-shelf generic action franchise.
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