Writers: John Curran, Jim Thompson (novel)
Cast: Casey Affleck, Kate Hudson, Jessica Alba
A West Texas deputy sheriff is slowly unmasked as a psychotic serial killer in this adaptation of Jim Thompson's novel by the same name.
Filmmakers have been trying to adapt the novel to the screen since the 1950s. Stanley Kubrick, whose 'The Killing' was adapted from a Jim Thompson novel, considered 'The Killer Inside Me' to be one of the most disturbing book he has read. In the 80s Tom Cruise was attached to the project and in the 90s Quentin Tarantino was trying to get it made with Brad Pitt attached to it. In the 2000s it was the turn of Andrew Dominik with him trying to get Leonardo DiCaprio to take the role of Lou Ford. He then decided to go on to make the terrific 'Assassination of Jesse James' and the project fell into the hands of Michael Winterbottom.
In a way it is good that Lou Ford is not played by a big star. In the film audience should be revolted by the idea that they have some sympathy towards Lou Ford and having a big star would have made it less disturbing. He is a repulsive character from the get go and is excellently played by Casey Affleck. There is not much motive for the killings that he commits and it is the people who are suspecting him attaching motives to it. He is using these as an excuse to do his killing. Jessica Alba getting beaten to pulp would be one of the most disturbing scenes that you will ever see and the crew were even avoiding eye-contact with her when she was wearing the makeup for that scene. Lou was sexually abused as a child and in one scene he is shown taking bible from the shelf which was sitting next to a Freud book (no coincidence). In it he discovers nude photos of the housekeeper/babysitter from his youth who strongly resembles Joyce (Jessica Alba). He reminisces that he was made to spank the babysitter who was also having a relationship with his dad. These incidents from his childhood have shaped his character and it influenced the relationships with Joyce and Amy (Kate Hudson), with the sadomasochistic nature of it. In the first half of the film it works as a normal crime film where you are keeping on guessing about the motives and by the latter half you get a sense that it is striving to be much more and to be fair from the title of the film it should be obvious.
It might not be for everyone and it received mixed reviews during its release with many complaining about violence towards women and misogyny. The character being a deeply disturbed individual doesn't mean that filmmakers are trying to promote it. The fact that despite all this, if you are still sympathetic towards the character, then well that exactly is the point. It is complex.