IFC films has brought to my attention another great film I would have otherwise missed. The Killer Inside Me is a gruesomely depicted film, void of emotion, that really showed off how well Casey Affleck could act. Better than his brother, but that’s not hard to imagine. A lot of things struck me in the slowly paced film noir (reminded me of the South’s version of L.A. Noire) about a man spiraling out of control that I wasn’t expecting. You think he was made a killer out of happenstance. You learn something frighteningly different.
Lou Ford (Casey Affleck) is a well to do sheriff in a small podunk town. He’s called out one day to a run down house outside of town in order to force a well known prostitute to abandon her position there. What
happens is something you wouldn’t expect. This nice boy is smacked across the face and forced to leave. But he finds love, and pain, in the prostitute he brutally beats back. In a sadomasochistic love affair, Lou and Joyce (Jessica Alba) hatch a plan with unexpected drawbacks.
What blew me away in this film was in fact Casey Affleck’s performance. Whenever you are introduced to a character in a film, especially the main character, you want that person to wow you. They’re the person you’ll most likely be following the entire film. And when a character like this who is seen as so traditionally brutal and evil, without an emotion on his face, somewhere inside you wants to root for them. You become so wrapped up in a good actor’s performance that you don’t wanna see it end with them getting caught.
There were some other great appearances in this film as well. The classic Ned Beatty makes an appearance as the rich
villain, Chester Conway. From the outset of the movie, you think he’s the bad guy. But how little you know… Tom Bower from my favorite horror movie, The Hills Have Eyes, makes a great minor role player as the head Sheriff Bob Maples. His southern drawl and terrible drinking problem made him a great comedic relief at times. Elias Koteas, one of those standard character actors makes an appearance as the union leader, Joe Rothman. Ever since I first laid eyes on his acting, I realized Koteas can slip into anyone’s skin and make it seem natural. And Bill Pullman makes a great cameo towards the end as a lawyer. I had a little chuckle with that.
I think what upset a lot of people about this movie (confirmed by Wiki, as usual), is the violence towards women. All of Lou Ford’s sexual interests is beaten to death or near death throughout the film by him. It is in fact hard to watch, but it wouldn’t be a movie about a killer if he never did anyone in… What disturbed me more, personally, is the belt strangling Jessica Alba and Kate Hudson, more than the punches and bruises. The perverse and weird that is meant for behind closed doors, flaunted on camera, and no one mentioned that as a point of discomfort? Oh wait, sex is art and violence in movies is inexcusable… I get the double standard… So where does violent sex acts stand?
This movie, at its core, for me, was about a man losing control of his life. He was a normal person, with some major
developmental bumps along the way. He thought becoming a police officer would set him on the right track, but he grew bored. He needed the excitement of the extraordinary and the ability to get away with it as a cop gave him his high. Up until the very end, he felt he could get
away with it. When all was said and done, he still kept his cool and let the world burn around him. It was an eerie film to witness, but made all the more interesting by its brutality and poetic separation from humanity.
If you’ve played L.A. Noire, or love noir films, you have to check this movie out. It breaks away from the genre and sets itself apart as a twisted version of what it sets out to do. It may have upset people who didn’t want to see it, but it may just be right for you to see. Let me know what you think. 9.1 out of 10.