Hollywood has a knack for quickly cranking out knockoffs of Academy Award-winning movies which is why I’m wondering what took somebody this long to make a flick similar to No Country for Old Men. Directed by Brit Michael Winterbottom (A Mighty Heart), The Killer Inside Me is actually a remake of a 1976 crime caper starring Stacy Keach.
But where the original was set in Montana, this version takes place in a tiny town in west Texas, ostensibly to mimic the desert locations of the Coen Brothers’ Best Picture. It also is consistent with the plot of the 1952 pulp fiction novel of the same name upon which both movies are based.
Winterbottom assembled an impressive cast, starting with Casey Affleck in the title role as Lou Ford, a small-town deputy sheriff. However, Lou is no Barney Fife, but a sociopath with a dark side and a big secret, so his terrorized hamlet is nothing like Mayberry.
His dark side is that he gets his kicks by having rough sex with his fiancée, Amy (Kate Hudson), and Joyce (Jessica Alba), a prostitute who can really take a punch. His big secret is that he committed a murder in his teens, yet managed to evade justice by fingering his adopted brother.
After the opening credits, we find Lou combining his addiction to kinky sex with a compulsion to kill again. But between his boyish charm and his stature in the local community, no suspicions are aroused by the Teflon lawman. Instead, the body count only escalates in accordance with both his bloodlust and his need to cover his tracks.
Unfortunately, where Javier Bardem’s villain in No Country was an alternately charming and chilling creep, Affleck’s relatively blasé monster isn’t either scary or intriguing, just basically bored. Who knows, maybe it’s the fault of the script for making it difficult to ascertain his character’s motivation, and thus invest in any of the grisly goings-on.
Regardless, this is no movie for old men, or any other demographic for that matter.
Fair (1 star)
Rated. R for bizarre sexuality, graphic nudity and disturbingly-brutal, eroticized violence.
Running time: 109 Minutes