This Week in New York Insider's Guide to Arts & Culture in New York City Since 2001

18Jun/10

THE KILLER INSIDE ME

Things are about to get mighty violent between Casey Affleck and Jessica Alba

THE KILLER INSIDE ME (Michael Winterbottom, 2010)
IFC Center
323 Sixth Ave. at West Third St.
Opens Friday, June 18
212-924-7771
www.ifccenter.com
www.killerinsideme.com

In a small Texas town, Deputy Lou Ford (Casey Affleck) has been charged with kicking out local prostitute Joyce Lakeland (Jessica Alba), but something happens to him when he meets her, leading to a violent sexual affair. The soft-spoken, easygoing cop suddenly goes bad, jeopardizing his relationship with girlfriend Amy Stanton (Kate Hudson), his job, and just about everything and everyone he comes into contact with. Based on Jim Thompson’s 1952 pulp noir classic that Stanley Kubrick called “probably the most chilling and believable first-person story of a criminally warped mind I have ever encountered” (Thompson worked with Kubrick on the scripts for THE KILLING and PATHS OF GLORY), Michael Winterbottom’s adaptation of THE KILLER INSIDE is cold and heartless, a lurid, exploitative film that captures little of what made the book so special. Despite staying close to Thompson’s narrative and including voice-overs taken straight from the book, Winterbottom (24 HOUR PARTY PEOPLE, WELCOME TO SARAJEVO) concentrates too much on making the characters realistic and believable, inserting his impressive documentary skills and taking the book far too literally. It’s one thing to have Ford describe a brutal beating in the novel; it’s quite another to show him pulverizing a woman’s face into a bloody pulp. Also, whereas in the book Ford talks about “the sickness” inside him developed from childhood abuse, the film tries to hide that, burying it in a handful of brief flashbacks that add nothing but confusion. This new version of THE KILLER INSIDE ME, which was previously filmed in 1976 by Burt Kennedy with Stacy Keach, Susan Tyrrell, Tisha Sterling, and Keenan Wynn, is a major disappointment.

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