I have seen Casey Affleck in comedies (Tower Heist) and dramas (Gone Baby, Gone and The Assassination… blah-blah-blah). He is most definitely a far more accomplished dramatic actor. The Killer Inside Me is an extremely dramatic film and Affleck is a compelling presence in it, but despite all that I can’t find a reason to recommend it or for me to revisit it at any point in the future.
It is Texas in the 1950s. Affleck plays Lou Ford, a cop in town small enough that everyone knows him, and he knows them. Being the authority figure in a close knit community the consensus is that Lou is an all round nice guy – in fact he is set to marry one of the more well thought of young women in the community, Amy (Kate Hudson).
But as Lou himself informs us with his narration the truth is a little more complicated, and as we learn through sporadic flashbacks and the action within the film decidedly more depressing and bleak.
The ‘fun’ starts when Lou is called upon to move on a known hooker who has set up shop on the outskirts of town. When he arrives he finds that Joyce (Jessica Alba) is none too co-operative to his requests. After giving her a taste of the back of his hand Lou finds that Joyce might just like it a little rough.
And Lou likes the fact that Joyce likes it rough.
The two set to a passionate affair with Lou dropping in as frequently as he is able without drawing undue attention. In their post-coital chats Lou is told that he is not the only ‘regular’ dropping by, and the pair decide that they should fleece the son of a wealthy local and flee the community to a new life elsewhere.
In the days that follow Lou changes the plan somewhat, leaving us to ponder whether he likes tail more than dollars… or is it something else entirely.
Straightforward heist films without twists and turns are boring, and The Killer Inside Me can’t be accused of being straightforward. Lou is a multi faceted character, with the depth of his ‘quirks’ and his ever altering mental state being drip fed to us as the film progresses. Along the way this brings the attention of the District Attorney Howard (Simon Baker) and Joe (Elias Koteas) the local union rep. They all think they have a handle on Lou. None have. For them – and many others – this is not good news.
I can’t leave without saying a few things. The Killer Inside Me is very violent, the kind of violent that I find particularly unpalatable. It also is unlikely to teach you much about life aside from perhaps it takes all types to make a world, but hopefully you knew that by now anyway.
So I’ll end by repeating myself. Casey Affleck makes Lou Ford a commanding presence and a complicated character. I still don’t think this is enough to warrant tracking this film down.
And for those of you who seek some Jessica Alba or Kate Hudson love scenes. They are here, but they don’t end the way you hope. At least I sincerely hope they don’t.
Final Rating – 5.5 / 10. It’s probably fair to say that a lot of aspects of The Killer Inside Me are handled well. It’s equally fair to say I didn’t like the film much at all.
I also don’t think I am being anti-social by openly hoping you won’t like it too…