For many people, myself included, Casey Affleck was a stand-out performer in "The Assassination of Jesse James by the Coward Robert Ford" and he proved that was no fluke with another great showing in "Gone Baby Gone". Throw in his turn alongside Matt Damon in Gus Van Sants "Gerry" and you have an actor who is building up a fine body of work (we'll ignore "American Pie 2") and who is proving himself to be more than capable of carrying a film and creating the sort of "noise" that is reserved for the likes of Di Caprio and Damon.
In this adaptation of Jim Thompsons novel director Michael Winterbottom sticks close to the source material and, as a result, delivers a film that is, at times, brutal and chilling. The central part of Lou Ford, the handsome young deputy sheriff of the sort of Southern town where every woman is called "ma'am" and every man is addressed as either "sir" or "boy" needed a performance that could embody "good old boy" charm and Southern manners while also delivering the sort of physical violence that hasn't been seen since "Irreversible".
Winterbottoms decision to turn to Affleck was a stroke of genius as he gives a performance that will go down in cinema history as one of the most terrifying killers ever to stalk the silver screen. Make no mistake here, Afflecks Lou Ford is more chilling than Hopkins Hannibal Lecter and the match of Perkins Norman Bates. It's the sort of performance that announces to the cinema going public that you are a "serious" performer and that tells the studios that you can carry a movie.
The story is horribly simple as Lou beats his lover, local prostitute Joyce (Jessica Alba), to death in order to frame an old enemy for the murder. From there his life unravels and he is forced to murder two more people and is indirectly responsible for at least two others. All the while Affleck is charming and cool, immaculately dressed and totally in control of his emotions. It is an entirely convincing performance.
The supporting cast are fabulous too, in particular Alba and Kate Hudson as the unsuspecting and unfortunate victims of Fords love and violence. Both women will surely be in the running for Oscar nominations and if Affleck isn't there beside them it will be proof, if any further were needed, that the Oscars are not about rewarding the best but rewarding the best paid.
"The Killer Inside Me" isn't a film for everyone; it is brutal, violent, erotic and disturbing but for those of a strong disposition it is a rewarding experience.