Tuesday, January 6, 2015

The Killer Inside Me (2010) 3 of 4

** this review has no major spoilers **

In David Mamet's House of Games, Joe Mantegna's con-artist character explains that term: it's not that the "con artist" instills confidence, it's that he puts his confidence in you, and you feel honor-bound to reciprocate.  Granted this is a professional liar speaking, but he nevertheless has a point, one that helps explain how the protagonist of The Killer Inside Me stays out of jail.

This noirish crime film is an adaptation of the novel by Jim Thompson, previously filmed in 1976.  It flopped at the box office, but expect it to be a cult film in the future.  It will be loved and hated for the same reason: an unblinking look at psychopathic violence, so extreme that you don't know whether to laugh or cry -- or press "stop."  (By the way, that word is often misunderstood: a psychopath is someone who has no conscience but is able to pass as normal.  Norman Bates is a psychopath, so is Hannibal Lector; Tony Soprano is not, because everybody knows where he's coming from.)

As with I'll Sleep When I'm Dead, I was tempted to give up on this film, and if I'd been in a movie theater (remember those?) I may've walked out, especially with TKIM.  In both cases, the level of craft and conviction pulled me back to the narrative.

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