Sunday, Sept. 12, 2010

The Killer Inside Me

By David Luhrssen
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The Killer Inside Me includes an unforgettable performance by Casey Affleck as Lou Ford, a mild mannered deputy sheriff in small town Texas, c. 1960. Everything seems above board about this polite doctor’s son until the prostitute he is sent to question strikes him and calls him names. He hits her and hits her again, an assault she finds pleasurable. Seemingly, this violent sexual encounter pulls a trigger inside him, setting off a chain of murder and madness.

Affleck plays his character with laconic unconcern and utter lack of empathy. He’s oddly cultivated for his time, place and position, reading Freud and listening to opera, but we see no evidence of an inner intellectual life—a flaw in director Michael Winterbottom’s needlessly graphic adaptation of the novel by Jim Thompson (author of The Grifters). The supporting cast is good, including Kate Hudson (as Ford’s girlfriend), Bill Pullman and Elias Koteas, yet the film feels oddly hollow. The internal narrative of a killer such as Ford is probably more illuminating on the page than when seen on screen.

The Killer Inside Me is out Sept. 28 on Blu-ray and DVD.

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