I watch movies for many reasons. This one is the total opposite of the Norman Wisdom film reviewed elsewhere. I am quite happy to be just entertained and I like movies that make think about issues, but perhaps the films I enjoy most are those where I have to mentally engage with the film-maker. I really don't mind not having thinks spelled out for me, I don't need every single point of a film being explained to me. I appreciate that there are writers and directors out there who don't underestimate their target audience and trust them to meet the material to meet half way. Of course, sometimes I'm dumb and miss a lot of points (as I did with Chabrol's MERCI POUR LE CHOCOLAT) but on those occasions I'm usually aware that I've missed something and am prepared to put a little more effort into my viewing. THE KILLER INSIDE ME certainly demands effort on many levels. Controversially it contains a couple of scenes of violence against women which some may feel go too far in the way they are shown but I think that is separate discussion. The film is about madness - about a mad killer who happens to be a deputy sheriff in West Texas (the film is based on a novel by Jim Thompson which is set in the 1950's) and the film itself makes no moral judgements but rather simply observes Lou Ford (a brilliantly chilling performance by Casey Affleck) as he spirals out of control. Watching the movie it is difficult to decide how much of what we see is real and how much is in Ford's mind - certainly the ending will provoke endless discussion. It's a complex film which demands an effort on the part of the viewer. Of course, I'm sure, some will take everything simply at face value and that also is a valid way to see it - but I'm pretty sure it results in a less rich experience. Not for the squeamish. Rating ****
Note : The story was previously filmed under the same title by Burt Kennedy and starring Stacy Keach in the 1970's.