Casey Affleck turns in a chilling performance as a psychopathic sheriff in Michael Winterbottom’s violent country noir, adapted from the Jim Thompson novel. “An entertaining and brilliant psychological portrait.” — Interview
Screened as part of NZIFF 2010
This stylish 50s backwoods noir is interlaced with grisly realism by mainstream cinema’s most restless genre-hopper and provocateur, British director Michael Winterbottom. When it premiered at Sundance this year, The Killer Inside Me sparked controversy over the graphic authenticity of its violence. The greatest shock for many may actually have been the Hollywood pedigrees of the actors giving and taking the blows.
“Winterbottom is no stranger to challenging and heady subject matter (9 Songs, 24 Hour Party People). Nevertheless, for his first American film, he chose to adapt one of the more delectably vicious, landmark novels in the annals of American noir, Jim Thompson’s The Killer Inside Me. Excuse the pun, ma’m, but Winterbottom killed it. That is to say, he has crafted an entertaining and brilliant psychological portrait of a charming sociopath that is every bit the 2010 answer to Mary Harron’s American Psycho.
In a career-defining lead performance, Casey Affleck plays Lou Ford, a young deputy sheriff in 1950s Texas who masks homicidal tendencies and paranoia behind an endless supply of local-yokel bon mots and his small town’s mundanity. But a fiery encounter with a local prostitute named Joyce (Jessica Alba) ticks off a Freudian kettle inside his disturbed mind; soon, Ford’s amusingly pathological whoppers are outmatched by his sexual, murderous destruction.” — Hunter Stephenson, Interview
“An audience up to its jugular vein in serial killers may enter this film thinking they already know them all. Like it or not, Winterbottom proves them wrong.” — David D’Arcy, Screendaily