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Category:    Home > Reviews > Crime > Drama > Murder > Mystery > Police > Prostitution > Literature > Neo-Noir > The Killer Inside Me (2009/IFC/MPI Blu-ray)

The Killer Inside Me (2009/IFC/MPI Blu-ray)


Picture: C+     Sound: C+     Extras: C     Film: C+



Occasionally, 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.


Thompson’s 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 recent years.


Set 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 he does.


Unfortunately, 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.


The 1080p 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 and Alba.



-   Nicholas Sheffo


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