The Killer Inside Me (2010)
Michael Winterbottom’s film is a raw yet beautifully vicious film. Starring soon to become superstar Casey Affleck as a mild-mannered cop of the 1950’s, the beautiful Jessica Alba as a prostitute, and Kate Hudson as the main character’s girlfriend. From the first ten minutes to the end of the film us, the viewer, is completely immerged as a participant of the story. We are the witness of Lou Ford’s (Affleck) crimes, shenanigans and his perversions.
As conventional as the film would open, the first encounter of Joyce Lakeland (Alba), the prostitute, is vile and vicious, what seems like a cruel beating turns out to be a passionate session of sex. Some moments of The Killer Inside Me are unsupportable while others show deep intense, yet strange, love moments. The contrast of those moments is utterly disturbing for the viewer who is forced to be the partner of Ford’s evil plan. The structure of the film is modern and some elements and characters seem like if they are out of a David Lynch picture, see Bill Pullman’s unsettling performance, or from a David Cronenberg, see Elias Koteas’ intentionally cliché presence.
As you might think, The Killer Inside Me is a heavy film full of sexual games and violent pleasures. Set in Texas and in the 1950’s the themes of the film are a contrast to the conventional way of American life in those little towns where the suburbs and the giant house of Lou’s late father are a subtext of peace and common space. Lou Ford is an intriguing character filled with subtleties of Casey Affleck’s extraordinary performance. He seems like someone who never had to prove something and he just didn’t fit with the other people of the little town.
It was my first encounter with a film by Michael Winterbottom and I must admit that I am positively surprised by the freshness of the discourse and the quality of the images. Some frames reminded me of the mastered hand of Stanley Kubrick always inventing alternate ways to shot a dialogue scene or something commonly shot with textbook reaction shots. Aspects of Lynch and Cronenberg also occurs to me especially when we take part in Ford’s perversions and crimes. But the Winterbottom touch is how the psychology of the characters plays strong in the balance of this mastered mise-en-scène. It’s the human/horrible side of the character that keeps us watching but also loathes us to idolize the violence and acts of him. The use of music is important and some sequences are cinematic bliss in the juxtaposition of the music and the images. The Killer Inside Me will change the order of my Top 10 of the best films of 2010.