The Killer Inside Me

The Killer Inside Me is a movie I only heard about yesterday and decided to watch it. Michael Winterbottom directed this movie based on Jim Thompson’s 1952 novel of the same name. The movie boasts a star case of Casey Affleck, Jessica Alba, Kate Hudson, Ned Beatty, Elias Koteas and Bill Pullman. However the film received a lot of negative publicity due to the graphic violence directed against women. There was an outcry when the movie was showcased at the Sundance Film Festival and even one of the movie’s star, Alba, couldn’t sit through the full movie.

Set in the late 50s in a small town in Texas, the movie is mostly narrated by the protagonist Deputy Sheriff Lou Ford (Casey Affleck), seemingly a pillar of the community. However the 29 year old has a violent past, hidden from the town’s folk, who know him a country boy, son of a late doctor and who listens to country music and dates a local teacher Amy (Kate Hudson). He also is a voilent sociopath with a taste for rape & murder. As a child he raped a young girl in his father’s car, a crime which was witnessed by his adopted older brother. The brother takes the blame for the crime and is sent away and later dies. After his father’s death, Lou lives on in the big house, drinking whiskey at night and doing complicated math problems while listening to classical music.

Lou is sent to the outskirts of town to persuade a prostitute, Joyce (Jessica Alba) to leave town because she has started an affair with the son of the town’s richest man, Chester Conway. When Joyce realizes the reason for his visit, she is enraged and starts to slap Lou. This triggers the long dormant violent tendencies in him and he grabs her and puts her on her bed and removing his belt starts to beat her bottom. It turns into a violent sex scene that appears to open the doors to his repression. A sado-masochistic love affair begins and Lou feels that he can be himself with Joyce. He takes a bribe from Conway to get rid of Joyce but has his own agenda.

He brutally beats up Joyce (in a disturbingly realistic violent scene) and then shoots Conway’s son dead in the same bedroom to make it look like Joyce defended herself with a gun after Conway’s son beat her. However she doesn’t die – although that is only revealed at the end of the film. Lou goes back to his life, even indulging in little masochistic games with Amy and seems ready to marry her. However a chance encounter with a drunkard before the murder brings an eyewitness to his crime, who wants money to keep his mouth shut and Lou loses control. He beats up Amy and kills her trying to pin it on the drunkard. It only works for a while as the detective brought from out of town to solve the Conway murder suspects Lou all along and is about ready to pin him for the murders. In a memorable last scene Ford takes out Joyce, the detective and a couple of others as he blows up his house in flames, killing himself in the process.

Great job by Affleck, Hudson & Alba. Bill Pullman & Elias Koteas do very well in their smaller roles. Overall I’d say that this movie is probably dogged by its violence and that Southern Texas drawl style of talking that makes it a bit hard to follow but it’s a really well acted out movie, dark & disturbing. Not for the squeamish. 8 out of 10.