The Killer Inside Me - Directed by MIchael Winterbottom
After some very solid performances in Gone Baby Gone and The Assassination of Jesse James by the Coward Robert Ford, Casey Affleck really knocks it out of the park as the sadistic, power-hungry sheriff from Jim Thompson’s notorious pulp novel. Asked to run prostitute Joyce Lakeland (Jessica Alba) out of town, Lou Ford (Affleck) finds himself fervently attracted to her, thought not in any Nicholas Sparks kind of way. Ford is a man of repressed anger and sexuality, constantly burdened by the austere nature of his job. With a total disconnect behind his eyes, Ford brutally beats and rapes Lakeland as if he was just doing some mundane household chores. Winterbottom cuts and edits every scene with a certain grace, pacing his film near-perfectly; an ominous slow-burn that constantly blurs the lines between madness, morality, violence, sexuality and justice. What makes the film and Affleck’s performance so striking and frightening is the total lack of provocation. Ford isn’t a man looking for revenge or haunted by a traumatic childhood. He is just a mentally unstable man in a position of power, creating a constantly looming threat of madness. The Killer Inside Me is a captivating genre film, steeped in noir and western tropes and propelled by Affleck’s haunting, fearless performance.