Combustible Celluloid
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With: Casey Affleck, Kate Hudson, Jessica Alba, Ned Beatty, Elias Koteas, Tom Bower, Simon Baker, Bill Pullman, Brent Briscoe, Matthew Maher, Liam Aiken, Jay R. Ferguson
Written by: John Curran, Michael Winterbottom, based on a novel by Jim Thompson
Directed by: Michael Winterbottom
MPAA Rating: R for disturbing brutal violence, aberrant sexual content and some graphic nudity
Running Time: 109
Date: 01/24/2010

The Killer Inside Me (2010)

3 Stars (out of 4)

Forbidden Brute

By Jeffrey M. Anderson

Director Michael Winterbottom (24 Hour Party People, A Mighty Heart) is mainly notable for his heavy message movies, but he occasionally makes interesting, smart forays into genre filmmaking, and this is one of them. The movie is moody and stylish, and it develops a strong sense of place and tone to support the dark characters. It's sometimes a bit too measured and doesn't quite have the shocking, pulp punch that Thompson's novel had, but it's a solid, intriguing effort.

Lou Ford (Casey Affleck) is a deputy sheriff living in a small West Texas town in the 1950s. He is sent to investigate a girl thought to be a prostitute, Joyce Lakeland (Jessica Alba), and winds up beginning a sexual relationship with her. He plots to kill her boyfriend, the son of the town's wealthiest and most powerful citizen. This leads to a second murder, a false accusation, a blackmail, and more murders. As his sociopathic side begins to manifest itself with increasing brutality, Lou has a more and more difficult time convincing his girlfriend Amy (Kate Hudson), the district attorney (Simon Baker), and a local union leader (Elias Koteas) that he is innocent.

The biggest problem here is the controversial scenes of violence against women, which are highly disturbing and not at all easy to watch. But if viewers can stomach them and get past them, Casey Affleck's Lou Ford makes a fascinating character, and it's interesting to watch his mental and emotional journey. It's possible to even root for him to find some sort of inner peace. A fine cast provides strong support for him.

Best Buy Co, Inc.