DVD: The Killer Inside Me

This film was so empty and unpleasant I spent some time trying to figure out what it was supposed to be about.  It reminded me of those notices on NetFlix that tell you what movies you might like based on what you’ve liked already.  “If you liked watching “Macbeth,” you might enjoy “Friday the 13th.”  This movie seems to be trying to tell us, “If you like smacking girls on the backside, you might enjoy BEATING THEM TO FREAKING DEATH!!!!!”

Spank me! Beat me! Kill me! Kill me???

Anyway, that’s basically the MO of Texas Deputy Sheriff Lou Ford (Casey Affleck) who likes to spank his women, then kill them–and, of course, they seem to enjoy every moment of it.  Don’t try this at home.  It’s based on the famous noir novel by Jim Thompson -  I read it a long time ago and didn’t like it much but can’t remember it – and there was another film version of it back in the seventies I never saw.

This one?  Listen, as my readers know, I have nothing against dark stories, nothing against depicting evil, nothing against exploring sexual perversion…  but, like, why???  I mean, a work of art is supposed to reach the audience, move them, give them some insight into the human condition.  It’s not enough to be “disturbing.”  I could smash a baby on a rock and it would be disturbing, but it wouldn’t be art.  So, with this film, after watching a woman graphically punched to death–and another graphically kicked to death–I just found myself beginning to wonder what was on the Lifetime channel.  Because it was ugly, sure, but pointless.  No social context, no psychological insight, no emotion, no interesting relationships.  Just a sort of self-satisfied announcement that sadism and masochism are uncomfortable facets of human nature.  Really, next time send me the news in a letter.

But there was some good stuff.  Casey Affleck–great young actor.  Watch his Jesse James movie if you want to see him kick butt in a more figurative way.  Jessica Alba–sexy and appealing.  Kate Hudson–really good performance.  Lots of good cameos–Bill Pullman, Ned Beatty, Simon Baker.  But basically, I watched this so you don’t have to–so don’t.

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  • http://whatwouldtotowatch.com Christian Toto

    I can’t disagree with your main points, but I still found the film compelling chiefly for Affleck’s character. I found it fascinating to see such an evil man in action – how he covered up his nefarious impulses and fooled nearly everyone around him about his true nature.

    Young Affleck isn’t a highly emotive actor – but he resonates all the same. Smart casting … and i thought this was the first time in ages I wasn’t embarrassed for a Kate Hudson movie.

  • http://www.tesscollins.com Tess Collins

    What a relief to know I’m not the only one. I’ve often suspected that male writers create women who like to be punished as a way to make them seem complex and layered–but it’s really just lazy writing. Or that men don’t or don’t want to understand women and what is truely female thinking. AK is one of the few male writers that seems to get it right, every time.

  • Anonymous

    I thought it was great in terms of acting and art direction. I loved the look of the film. But yeah, it’s just one unpleasing scene after another.

    I love Jim Thompson’s dialog (not too much on display here) and he has a way of bringing messed up people to life. He does three dimensional crooks well. His best three movie adaptations are: The Killing, The Getaway (McQueen version) and After Dark, My Sweet.

    This one is just dark for dark’s sake. But the book was about essentially an insane cop who goes on a murder spree and it’s all told from his perspective. This film was basically true to the book. I think it works as a character study. But like The Perfect Storm, would you want to see it again?

  • Anonymous

    Saw the film, read the book in that order. Both are excellent and recreate the moral, emotional and psychological claustrophobia of psychopathy in a way that produces a riveting intelligent thriller. Affleck is superb as a manipulative, vicious, conscienceless but never mindless, scheming sociopath who’s not quite as clever as he thinks he is. He does not kill for thrills or sexual gratification but in furtherance of his goals. The demon within is kept under control. He is a far more terrifying presence than, say, Hannibal Lecter for there is nothing of the pantomime villain about him. He could be the guy next door. Maybe he is….