By all appearances The Killer Inside Me’s setting of Central City Texas is the epitome of the cinematic small town complete with slow–drawl country music tunes a businessman who practically owns the town and a doe-eyed lady who most of the townsfolk love but whose heart belongs to the deputy sheriff. Lou Ford (Casey Affleck) though is no ordinary deputy sheriff as we learn when he is ordered to evict a local prostitute Joyce Lakeland (the always gorgeous Jessica Alba) because she has taken up with the son of town boss Chester Conway (Ned Beatty). Unfortunately for Conway this is Jessica Alba we're talking about! After a rather interesting exchange with Joyce Ford takes up with her himself and hatches a plan for them to skip town together. When Ford’s fiancé Amy Stanton (a fetching Kate Hudson) suspects an affair between the two trouble ensues and a maelstrom of murder mischief and mayhem soon envelops Central City.
Based on the novel by Jim Thompson who also wrote The Grifters and The Getaway as well as screenplays for Stanley Kubrick’s films The Killing and Paths of Glory The Killer Inside Me is one of the better films of its ilk wherein the “hero” is actually a disturbed — and disturbing — individual. Directed by Michael Winterbottom (A Mighty Heart) and featuring a supporting cast of actors that could each carry their own film (and indeed some have) including Bill Pullman Simon Baker and Elias "I’m not Christopher Meloni and he is not me" Koteas this movie should be penciled into everyone’s must–see list.
To answer the main question on the minds of the panting fanboys: Yes both of the film's buxom beauties Alba and Hudson show heaping gobs of skin. Unfortunately this is film noir a genre in which attractive female characters seldom survive to see the final credits roll.
With that in mind a word of warning: The Killer Inside Me does get a bit gratuitous with its violence and while it's not Bad Lieutenant- or David Lynch-level gratuitous it's still out-there blunt-trauma-to-the-head violent. Winterbottom makes the dangerous choice of rarely cutting away from the looks on the faces of those involved in these scenes and we as viewers become willing accomplices in Ford’s actions. In the film’s defense the violence is actually used for character development and there are enough moments of subtle bleak black humor to counterbalance it. But if you're the squeamish type you might wish to stay home.
Long out of the shadow of his more famous brother Casey Affleck comes out of his own shadow in The Killer Inside Me creating a character as charismatically menacing as a villainous protagonist could be; an Anton Chigurh you could bring home to meet your family. With no shred of his “Baastaahn” accent apparent Affleck speaks in a southern drawl that sounds like he's about to crack at any instant; because usually he is. It's the kind of role that will be talked about for years (if this film gets the proper promotion that is) and in my opinion will make him a very early candidate for Best Actor.
Top Story: Crosby Arrested on Gun and Drug Charges
Rock musician David Crosby was arrested early Saturday on marijuana and felony gun possession charges at a New York hotel, Reuters reports. According to the police report, a hotel manager at the Doubletree Guest Suites hotel called police after a maid searching for identification in a green canvas bag Crosby left after checking out of his room discovered a small quantity of marijuana, a .45-caliber gun, ammunition and knives. The 62-year-old musician, who rose to fame with the Byrds and later Crosby, Stills, Nash and Young in the late 1960s and 1970s, was charged with the third-degree felony of criminal possession of a weapon and unlawful drug possession, Manhattan District Attorney spokeswoman Barbara Thompson told Reuters. Crosby, who spent a year in prison after a drug charge conviction in 1985, could serve up to seven years in jail if convicted of the gun charge. He was freed after appearing in court and posting bail of $3,500.
Return of the King DVD Bows in May
The Lord of the Rings enthusiasts can look forward to the DVD and VHS release of The Return of the King May 25, three months earlier in the year than its predecessors, The Associated Press reports. In recent years, New Line had held off until August to release The Fellowship of the Ring and The Two Towers to generate anticipation for the trilogy's next theatrical release. Now, with the trilogy concluded--and riding high on the 11 Oscars the film won at the Academy Awards--New Line has decided to roll out the third and final installment earlier. AP reports the initial DVD release of The Return of the King will include a bevy of behind-the-scenes material--and, as with the other two installments, an extended version of King will be released sometime around the holidays. The three extended versions will push the saga's running time to more than 11 hours.
Schwarzenegger Heads Up Fitness Weekend
Arnold Schwarzenegger's got a busy schedule, what with running the nation's largest state and all, but still managed to take time out for his first love--bodybuilding. Reuters reports the Governator visited Columbus, Ohio, last weekend to officiate the Arnold Schwarzenegger Fitness Weekend and its centerpiece, the Arnold Classic bodybuilding contest. The three-day event--which dates back to 1989 and includes 600 exhibitors, 11,000 athletes and some 80,000 attendees--coincided with Schwarzenegger's appointment as executive editor of Muscle & Fitness and Flex magazines, two American Media-owned bodybuilding mags that have featured the former Mr. Universe on their covers some 50 times, Reuters reports.
Lost in Translation Feted at Comedy Fest
The Oscar-winning Lost in Translation was one of the big winners at the U.S. Comedy Arts Festival in Aspen, Colo. According to the Hollywood Reporter, Sofia Coppola's film about two lost souls in Tokyo won the audience award, along with best performance (Bill Murray), first-time director and screenplay prizes at the festival's second annual Comedy Film Honors. Al Madrigal took the jury award for best standup performer, while Dave Gorman won for the second time in the best one-person show category.
Role Call, Part I: McConaughey Swings Hammer, Universal in 11th Hour
Matthew McConaughey is in negotiations to star in Hammer Down for DreamWorks, a story about a disgraced NASCAR driver who becomes a wheel man in a heist in hopes to get his life back on track, Variety reports… Universal Pictures has acquired the project The 11th Hour, by first-time director and Shattered Glass scribe Billy Ray. According to Variety, the biopic tells the story of Robert Hanssen, the traitorous FBI agent who sold government secrets to the Soviet Union and centers on Hanssen's assistant Eric O'Neil. No cast as been set as yet.
Role Call, Part II: Malick Postpones Che
The trades also report eccentric director Terrence Malick (The Thin Red Line) has abruptly shelved his biopic project Che, about Cuban revolutionary Che Guevara, and will instead direct The New World, a drama about Pocahontas and the cultural collision of European explorers and Native American tribes starring Colin Farrell. Che was due to start filming in July 2004 in Bolivia with Benicio Del Toro set as the title character and Franka Potente, Javier Bardem, Benjamin Bratt and Ryan Gosling as his lieutenants. Malick, who co-wrote the Che script with Del Toro and Ben Vanderveen, has told the film's producers, Laura Bickford and Steven Soderbergh (Traffic), and financiers that he still intends to direct the film in July 2005, Variety reports. Despite the delay, Del Toro plans to stick with it. He and Bickford came up with the project in 1997, and they and Soderbergh own it. According to Variety, Del Toro is already fielding acting offers to fill his sudden summer vacancy, and Che will apparently wait until Malick returns.