23 August 2010 | Samiam3
Effective dramatic thriller, has couple storytelling problems, but is still good
Having read the novel by Jim Thompson, I think I can safely say that The Killer Inside Me sets a certain challenge for director Michael Winterbottom, or for that matter a challenge for anyone who wants to adapt it for the screen. It is a story that takes us deep into the mind of a Texas psychopath. Getting inside peoples heads is so much easier on pages than on screen. Winterbottom gives it a game shot, but doesn't quite manage to capture the book's depth and scope. The occasional use of narration (using segments from the book) or flashback, only helps a bit. Anyone who has not read the Thompson will find this movie somewhat hard to follow.
It's worth noting I guess that the movie is a noble adaptation, but for some odd reason, the plot is more convoluted in film format. There is a certain lack of explanation, and this is the film's biggest weakness. That does NOT mean however, that is isn't worth seeing.
As a dramatic thriller, The Killer Inside Me is effective. It is gritty, and grim, with good performances, nicely composed montages, and Winterbottom captures the essence of 1950's Texas fairly well. There is something kind of warm and communal about the town of Central City, the grass is green and the sun is always shining. Ignoring the fact that there is a psycho in the local law enforcement, which is discouraging, this is the kind of place where one might fancy a summer home. The movie comes with an ending that is absolutely devastating (despite being a bit rushy). Overall, Winterbottom makes mostly good decisions, but also a few not so good ones. He throws in country music jingles in places that are quite unnecessary.
I think I can recommend the film, but not without warning. It's tricky, and it needs a bit of a tune up. It's still an evocative drama though, which packs a dirty punch, and leaves you thinking.