The Killer Inside Me (2009/IFC/MPI Blu-ray)
C+ Sound: C+ Extras: C Film: C+
another filmmaker tires to adapt a Jim Thompson novel, but the results are not
always effective as his books are not easy to translate. Back in 1976, Director Burt Kennedy made a
feature film out of The Killer Inside Me
and despite a good cast, it has been forgotten.
Michael Winterbottom (9 Songs,
24 Hour Party People, Code 46, A Mighty Heart) is an interesting hit-or-miss helmer from England who has
decided to do a new film of the book and it too is uneven and not as effective
as it could be.
novels are considered part of Noir in print, but commercial independent film
and bad film schools have eroded the meaning of Noir (even down to the
pronunciation) so doing any dark drama gets labeled as such, so matter how
erroneous. The best any film after 1958
can be is a Neo-Noir and this adaptation by John Curran is not noir enough,
even being too much by-the-numbers and like so many such films we have seen in
the 1950s (the book was written in 1952), Casey Affleck is Sheriff Lou Ford,
who is asked to banish a prostitute from their “good” town, but he decides to
kill her instead and he suddenly finds that this is the best way to keep their
small, nice quiet town quiet and starts applying this “solution” to everything
Winterbottom cannot get past too much voiceover and the film sadly, slowly
implodes despite an interesting role for Affleck and good supporting
performances of fellow cast members Jessica Alba, Kate Hudson, Ned Beatty,
Elias Koteas, Bill Pullman and Simon Baker.
It is an ambitious project, especially for its budget, but the film does
not work out and additionally, reminded me of Jack Nicholson’s comical,
interesting, unsuccessful Chinatown sequel The
Two Jakes (1990) which worked better despite its many troubles and quirks. This Killer
is too formulaic to ever take off, but it was a nice try.
2.35 X 1 digital High Definition image is surprisingly soft for a Super 35mm
shoot, so the makers got carried away with over-styling the frame and the
result from all that Digital Internegative manipulation backfires, which is a
shame because this is a good-looking film shot by Winterbottom’s current
Director of Photography Marcel Zyskind.
Color can look good, but the overall performance is held back and I
doubt it is the transfer of the material to Blu-ray. Though only a “Dolby Digital 5.1” logo
appears on the back of the Blu-ray case, the film is actually presented in a
DTS-HD MA (Master Audio) lossless 5.1 mix and it shows the many limits and
flaws of the original mix. Is this from
running out of money to do a period piece?
Either way, the mix could be better, though Affleck’s voiceovers are
decently recorded. Extras include
trailers and three making of pieces featuring interviews with Affleck, Hudson