This adaptation of a Jim Thompson pulp novel is pretty grim and racy, indeed.
Michael Winterbottom (A Mighty Heart) directs The Killer Inside Me which was previously adapted in 1976 starring Stacy Keach in the lead deputy sheriff - Lou Ford - role, here embodied by Casey Affleck (Ocean's 13).
The setting is 1950s West Texas where Ford has childhood issues and self-esteem issues which still plague him.
A polite, unassuming Lou begins a fervent fling with call-girl Joyce (Jessica Alba) even though he seems fine with girlfriend Amy (Kate Hudson).
An ambling, parabolic plot devised by Winterbottom and John Curran reveals the intricacies Lou will unveil trying to keep law enforcers like Sheriff Maples (Tom Bower) off his trail.
It almost feels like a postmodern noir is being crafted here as a Western which turns out to have more psychological ramifications into humanity's more primitive side. A veritable hard-boiled psychotic unmasking to be sure.
With a production boasting some lush naturalism, an important part of The Killer Inside Me is how well Affleck is involving as a veritable two-face. His Ford isn't enough of a palatable type, though his visage and vocal inclinations work well enough. It's pretty clear about the origins of what is realized as a monstrous menace. But, the ends doesn't justify the means here in a meaningful or poignant way within a legalese thicket. This smart, often restrained thespian did better with another real man named Ford opposite Brad Pitt as well as an investigator in the mindful moral quagmire that was Gone Baby Gone.
Still, there is a skillfulness in the filmmaking which makes for some earthy, erotic, and definitely sadistic touches. A plucky Alba (The Eye) and a zaftig Hudson (Nine), nicely against type bring some welcome shadings to their parts in a notable ensemble which includes Simon Baker, Bill Pullman, and Ned Beatty as a local big tycoon.
Finally, for all that is unsettling and keenly observed while lacking aspects of a more engaging thriller, this Killer just doesn't have the right kind of payoff from what could have been more internalized as a foreboding, if soulful meditation. Here, for some, is the kind of tantalizing lurid pleasure, which could attract a cult following.
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