Tuesday, June 29, 2010

The Killer Inside Me

Casey Affleck leaves his older brother Ben in the dust as the star of this new drama from director Michael Winterbottom. Mr. Affleck is mesmerizing as Lou Ford, a deputy sheriff in a small Texas town in the '50's. Beneath his quiet and polite exterior lies a total sociopath who leaves a trail of broken bodies in his wake as he goes about his daily business.

Mr. Winterbottom directs from the source novel by Jim Thompson, the very definition of pulp fiction. This slice of film noir has it all. Sex, violence, blackmail and murder all boil to the surface in a mix of "Blood Simple", "Body Heat" and "Blue Velvet". Be warned, the violence is graphic and difficult to watch.

Co-starring with Mr. Affleck are Kate Hudson, Jessica Alba, Ned Beatty, Simon Baker and Elias Koteas. For Ms. Hudson, it's a brave departure from her usual roles and she is quite good. Any film with Mr. Koteas is always a bit left of center and yet for him, it's one of his more subtle roles. Ms. Alba is physically revealing but also taps an inner strength she has only hinted at in other films. And of course it's always good to see Ned Beatty back on screen (he's been busy of late. He also does the voice of Lotso Huggins Bear in "Toy Story 3"). Mr. Baker is a bit of a disappointment bringing nothing new to his character, the town D.A. and the only person who suspects the truth. He might as well be playing his role from "The Mentalist" minus the humor.

I can't say enough about Mr. Affleck, who puts you inside the mind of Lou Ford and it's a chilling place to be. It's a performance that should be recognized but probably won't be due to the graphic nature of the role.

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