Michael Winterbottom (A Mighty Heart) reintroduces film noir in his new film The Killer Inside Me based on the novel. Casey Affleck the Academy Award nominated brother of Ben Affleck returns after a long absence since his head turning performance in The Assassination of Jesse James by the Coward Robert Ford. The younger Affleck has already proved to be widely more versatile in his acting career compared to his popular older brother. Affleck certainly draws inspiration from his devious Robert Ford character, however with this role Affleck manages to bring to the screen one of the most evil, disturbed and unforgettable roles he is likely to ever play.

 Central City, TX mid 1950’s, Lou Ford (Affleck) is a respected sheriff deputy who always says “yes ma'am” and treats the county folk with courtesy, He doesn’t carry a gun because he claims there just are not many criminals in the small town. When Lou is sent to the edge of town to kindly tell Joyce Lakeland (Alba) the local prostitute to leave or be arrested, her behavior towards him ignites a spark that will burn in him and unearth feelings and desires he has tried to avoid since childhood. S&M behavior leads Lou to his first murder then everything spirals out of control as he tries to cover his tracks and shut anyone up that stands to expose him.

 I cannot remember the last time I saw a scene in a film as brutally graphic as the one that takes place here. Looking back at popular film noir projects we can always expect a certain amount of violence and degradation to women (see LA Confidential, The Black Dahlia) but The Killer Inside Me not only goes beyond what the audience might expect, it uses almost unnecessary close ups to make sure we are shocked, disgusted, and at the point of losing our stomachs. The mutilated make-up used on Alba’s face is something to be commended because it is likely an image you will never be able to shake. The Killer Inside Me is a film that will bother even the most hardcore of horror fans because here this is real life, not a slasher film with half naked teenagers getting picked off. The entire story does take a toll on the viewer by the time it comes full circle, and scenes begin to run long without an ounce of positive reinforcement. Unlike Matt Damon’s performance in The Talented Mr. Ripley, you do not want Lou to get away with his crimes.  

 Affleck's performance is so intense and so dark that I think Academy voters will be too upset by the subject matter to even nominate him. Let’s just say Lou Ford twisted behavior and snarky grin makes Hannibal Lector look like a bunny rabbit. One of the most fascinating elements to this film is how almost every victim is someone that Lou loves or cares about, and the notion that they continue to reach out for him in their last dying movement makes the audience feel helpless and puts Lou’s character in this very unpredictable circumstance where anything can happen, and in this picture usually does. Alba and Hudson both step way out of their usual character comfort zones and I applaud both of them for these unforgettable roles.

 Final Thought – Contains graphic violence and brutality like I have rarely seen before. Affleck’s performance is deeply disturbing and haunting.

Grade B-              

By: Dustin Chase W.     

Editor: Jennifer Gih