On the surface, Casey Affleck’s 1950s Texas deputy sheriff Lou Ford appears to be a courteous, amiable, thoroughly decent small-town cop, yet the protagonist of the pitch-black film noir thriller The Killer Inside Me is in reality a psychopathic, chillingly smart, dark-hearted killer – so murderously depraved he makes Nicolas Cage’s bad lieutenant look like one of the Chuckle Brothers.
Director Michael Winterbottom doesn’t pull any punches (literally) when it comes to showing the sadistic violence Affleck’s Ford metes out to the women in his life – his prostitute mistress Joyce, played by Jessica Alba, and his girlfriend Amy, played by Kate Hudson. These scenes are extremely disturbing to watch, which is how it should be. Does Winterbottom go too far? Viewers will be fiercely divided on this.
Whatever your response, it’s clear that the prolific Winterbottom has got closer than most to the bleak spirit of his film’s source – the 1952 novel by pulp writer Jim Thompson. No mean feat, considering that Thompson’s books also provided the basis for Sam Peckinpah’s The Getaway, Maggie Greenwald’s The Kill-Off, James Foley’s After Dark, My Sweet and Stephen Frears’ The Grifters.
Released on Blu-ray & DVD on 27th September.