Oscar-nominated actor Casey Affleck (Gone Baby Gone) gives his most chilling performance yet in the controversial crime drama The Killer Inside Me. Co-starring Jessica Alba (Fantastic Four), Oscar nominee Kate Hudson (Almost Famous), Emmy nominee Simon Baker (TV s The Mentalist) and Bill Pullman (Independence Day), this modern-day film noir shows a small town sheriff up to his neck in murders: his own. When Affleck s sheriff is asked to railroad a talkative prostitute out of town before she makes trouble, he realizes it s easier to just get rid of her for good. Unfortunately, covering up that murder means eliminating more and more people as his problems and complications spiral out of control. Even worse, he s starting to enjoy committing the crimes a lot more than he ever enjoyed dishing out the punishment. Based on the pulp fiction classic by Jim Thompson (The Grifters), The Killer Inside Me is an assured, stylish film [Guardian UK] that reveals the danger when a lawman s badge is hiding a cold, cold heart.
No stranger to literary adaptations, Michael Winterbottom sinks his teeth into Jim Thompson's noir classic for this cinematic murder ballad. Set in 1950s Texas, the story centers on Lou Ford (Casey Affleck, chilling yet strangely sympathetic), whose polite demeanor masks a murderer (and marks Affleck's second lethal Ford after The Assassination of Jesse James
). The deputy doesn't lack for compassion, but a twisted childhood drives him to inflict pain. He's also a pathological liar, though a union leader (Elias Koteas) and an attorney (The Mentalist
's Simon Baker) have their doubts. When Joyce (Jessica Alba), a hooker, gives him a hard time, Ford slaps her around, apologizes, and then falls for the feisty lady, even though his boss (Tom Bower), on orders from a construction magnate (Ned Beatty), asked him to escort her out of town. Plus, Lou already has a girl, schoolteacher Amy (a brunette Kate Hudson), so he finds a more expedient way to push Joyce--and other inconvenient individuals--out of the picture, but he isn't the sharpest tool in the shed, and his slip-ups outnumber his successes until he comes up with a plan to solve his problems once and for all. Cowriter John Curran's dialogue preserves Thompson's pungent text, though Affleck's drawl renders a few lines indistinguishable. Still, the film looks right for the era with bursts of graphic violence that feel postmodern. If it doesn't surpass The Grifters
, The Killer Inside Me
offers some of the same sinister thrills as No Country for Old Men
. --Kathleen C. Fennessy