October 17, 2010

#101: The Killer Inside Me (5/10)

This is a different kind of murder movie.  There isn't a lot of violence other than a few flourishes of brutality delivered with and unsettling cool demeanor.  Television and movies have desensitized me to true impact of taking a life.  The Killer Inside Me recaptured that weight in a few shocking scenes.  I really appreciated what Winterbottom was able to do in those moments.  However, the rest of the movie  had it's share of issues.  Overall I liked it and I'm glad I watched it, but The Killer Inside Me only manages a 5 out of 10.

The story presented in The Killer Inside Me is based of a 1952 novel written by Jim Thompson.  When a novel is adapted to film they can almost never include the whole story.  This was a case where it felt like they were trying to hit certain beats. There highlights were loosely stitched together by a bunch of filler scenes. There were some good moments, but overall it felt messy.  We saw a lot of scenes of dialog from tertiary characters that seemed pointless in the grand scheme of things.

Lou Ford, our killer and total psycho, is played by Casey Affleck. He does a great job in bringing this character to the screen. His performance is the best thing about the film.  Affleck is able to make this man seem sympathetic yet completely crazy at the same time.  While I liked the performance, the way he talked got kind of annoying.  He's got a southern drawl and the voice of pubescent teen with a sore throat.

Lou is a law man, and also a major player.  This guy gets laid so many times that I lost count.  It almost got to the point of ridiculousness.  His ladies are played by Jessica Alba and Kate Hudson, so it wasn't all bad to watch. Neither of their performances are great.  Alba might have even be terrible at times.  As I was watching it I was thinking about the title.  The movie is told from the perspective of Ford, so it totally makes sense that the title is referencing the killer inside of him.  However, he is the killer, and if you look at it from the perspective of the ladies, he spends a lot of time inside of them also.

I liked this movie, but I can't recommend it. It is a well made film with an interesting concept.  I don't know if there are enough great moments in there to justify watching the whole thing.  The film deals with a pretty serious story, yet for me it felt totally silly at the same time; especially towards the end.  I definitely don't think that is what they were going for, and I'm not sure many others had that same reaction.

One of the main changes in my movie watching since I started writing these posts is that I now pay attention to the director a lot more.  In the past I could watch a film and never realize or care who the director was. The Killer Inside Me at least made me interested in checking out some of the other films that Michael Winterbottom has done.

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