Saturday, 24 July 2010

FILM REVIEW: The Killer Inside Me

Slightly delayed review (I saw this in mid June!) but in a way the extra time has been good to sort out in my head what I really felt about The Killer Inside Me - and after being so excited about seeing it I have to say it was a huge disappointment.

Now, it got really positive reviews elsewhere, so it doesn't necessarily mean it was a poor film overall and no one got it. It's just that I didn't come away from it with that enthused, energised feeling I was so hoping to have - I just couldn't understand what it was trying to be. There were moments of true nastiness, but there were moments of comedy too, and the music in particular didn't do much to create a mood, only blur things. The comedy could have worked (see American Psycho) but the film didn't seem to commit to it - it was just thrown in here and there, so you're left feeling neither horrified nor morbidly bemused. Just apathetic. Perhaps for me, it was because this was my first Michael Winterbottom film, and perhaps I don't get how he visualises his films. To be honest this isn't a great platform to start from.

The film just starts. That's also what caught myself and a lot of other people out - there's no prelude or throwaway scene at the beginning to latch onto and slowly let yourself in. You have to concentrate immediately - and with sound so poor it was a headache to keep up. Casey Affleck's drawling Texan accent didn't help matters, but the dialogue was so low and mumbling it was almost impossible to keep up with what was happening there and then, let alone try and pick up on the dropped hints and stories to help work out the character of Lou Ford. The film didn't drag as such, but there was a lot to go over and clarify at the end. The unreliable narration didn't help clear matters much either, as you started to wonder what events had actually happened, ala American Psycho. But I didn't mind that too much, I like when things are left ambiguous.

The cast were all excellent, especially Casey Affleck who continues to go from credible to insurmountable. He won't win an Oscar for this, but it's another building block to add to his tower. A good film also for Jessica Alba, who isn't being a dumbass starring in a dumbass film for a change. The scene where she is killed was uncomfortable to watch (I did turn away from the screen a few times) but I was also glad it happened so early on in the film and we weren't just checking our watches every five seconds wondering when "the Jessica Alba scene"'s going to be on. It meant we could put it out of our heads and focus on watching the rest of the plot unfold. Kate Hudson was alright, nothing too special.

I wish I'd read the book before seeing the film. I think I would have understood and followed things a lot better, and it would have provided that greater depth I felt was lacking in this film - or perhaps I just missed it under someone's breath. The Killer Inside Me does its best to portray one of fiction's most brutal characters, but ultimately not in a cohesive and engaging way.

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