The Killer Inside Me

The Killer Inside Me ★★★★

Michael Winterbottom's The Killer Inside Me is a repellent and grimly violent adaptation of the uncompromising Jim Thompson novel of the same name. Thompson's novel is violent and Winterbottom presents it in stomach-churning detail.

I had seen the film previously and been impressed by it on release. At that time it was the name of Michael Winterbottom that appealed to me. I really like Winterbottom's genre-shifting career, as he moves around idiosyncratic material without leaving much of a touch, other than the mark of quality.

However, I returned to the film after seeing Manchester by the Sea, and I wanted to watch more of Casey Affleck and some of his best films.

The Killer Inside Me is not a perfect film, but Affleck's performance is truly perfect. The way he develops Lou Ford, as his mask of sanity begins to crumble under pressure, is superbly conceived. It is insanity, with precision. The half smile, the tilted head, the casual brutality. Affleck manages it all. The sexual violence as much a part of the character, as the way he smokes cigars. It is a grim, unsettling film, with none of the remove usually associated with neo-noir.

The Killer Inside Me is cold, not cool. It is unrelenting, with its bizarre ending, its ironic music selection and pitch-black sense of humour. It is not a classic, but Casey Affleck is quite brilliant.