REVIEW: DREAM HOUSE

CAST

Daniel Craig (Cowboys & Aliens)
Rachel Weisz (The Bourne Legacy)
Naomi Watts (Shut In)
Marton Csokas (The Equalizer)
Rachel G. Fox (Spork)
Elias Koteas (Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles)
Jane Alexander (The Ring)
Sarah Gadon (Dracula Untold)

Rachel Weisz and Daniel Craig in Dream House (2011)In 2007, Will Atenton (Daniel Craig) leaves his job as a successful editor in New York in order to spend more time with his wife, Libby (Rachel Weisz), and their two daughters, as well as to write his own book. At first, the family appears to be happy in their new home, until they discover that its previous occupants, a mother and her two small daughters, were shot to death in the house. Public opinion has condemned the father, Peter Ward, as the person responsible, but there was not enough evidence to convict Peter in court and he was also deemed mentally unfit to stand trial. Ward has been recently released from police custody and Will begins to feel he is seeing Peter watching the house.Daniel Craig in Dream House (2011)Will visits Greenhaven Psychiatric facility, where Peter has been held for five years. He learns that on the night of the murders, Peter was shot in the head by his wife Elizabeth, who had somehow grabbed the murder weapon in the moments just before her death. In recovery, Peter could not believe he had committed the murders and so he no longer believed he was Peter Ward. He chewed his own name off all of his identification bracelets/cards/tags, leaving only his Greenhaven I.D. sequence, which revealed Peter Ward and Will Atenton to be the same person.Daniel Craig in Dream House (2011)Unable to believe this, Will rushes home and we see his home is actually run down and condemned. Peter visits his neighbor, Ann Patterson (Naomi Watts). Ann had been a good friend to the Wards and never believed Peter was the killer. Returning to the house, Peter remembers he was on the phone with Libby when she stumbled on a burglar, who shot the little girls and wounded Libby. Peter attacked the gunman and Libby accidentally shot Peter.Rachel Weisz in Dream House (2011)Ann’s ex-husband Jack and the gunman burst into the now-decrepit Ward home. It is revealed that the hit man had been hired to kill Ann, but broke into the wrong house and chose to kill the witnesses. Jack shoots the hit man in the abdomen before staging the scene so it will appear that Peter has murdered again before burning the house down. Peter regains consciousness in time to fight off Jack and rescue Ann. As Peter and Ann make it out of the house, Jack starts up the cellar steps but is doused with kerosene by the dying hit man, and Jack goes up in flames. The house burns to the ground. Some time later, Peter—now back in New York City—walks past a major bookseller’s window and sees that his book “Dream House” has become a number one national bestseller.Rachel Weisz in Dream House (2011)The acting is good, the thrilling scenes are good enough and the plot confusion doesn’t spoil the movie whole after all.

Advertisements

REVIEW: DIVORCE (1998)

CAST

Elias Koteas (Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles)
Christopher McDonald (Stargate Universe)
Terry Kiser (Lois & Clark)
Wendie Malick (Waiting…)
Denise Crosby (Star Trek: TNG)
Prscilla Barnes (Jane The Virgin)
Ray Laska (Lost Voyage)
Talia Shire (Rocky)
Enrico Colantoni (Veronica Mars)

“Divorce: A Contemporary Western” is a 1998 ensemble drama starring a number of talented character actors: Elias Koteas, Christopher McDonald, Wendie Malick , Denise Crosby  and Terry Kiser. Written and directed by Eb Lottimer (an actor who mostly appeared in schlocky 1980s and ’90s movies like “Stripped to Kill II: Live Girls” and “Bloodfist VII: Manhunt”), the movie turns out to be an intriguing breed of failure; it’s an exercise that doesn’t work, ultimately, but it’s certainly more compelling than its awful, misleading title implies.

hqdefault

Based on Lottimer’s nasty split with TV star Mary Crosby (she shot J.R. on “Dallas”), “Divorce” is by no means a western (though it is set at a Californian ranch), nor is it particularly contemporary (though there is some discussion of modern horrors like sexually transmitted diseases). You keep waiting for it to explode, but–aside from a scene in which Crosby and Koteas vent about their domestic problems and then, for therapeutic purposes, start screaming like banshees–the movie remains frustratingly sleepy and restrained. The key problem might be the setting itself: the main character is a horse trainer, so the majority of scenes are set in dimly lit stables or along horse paths overlooking sweeping vistas, about as peaceful and secluded and as far from the world of divorce court as you can get. The worst the characters ever seem is slightly lonely.

Furthermore, the casting of Koteas in the lead role is disastrous. What makes Koteas so fun to watch (even in junk like “Look Who’s Talking Too”) is his knack for conveying the surprisingly humane side of short-fuse creeps. He’s usually introduced in films as a menace, then slowly revealed to be a laid-back guy  (in “Some Kind of Wonderful,” for example, he’s an intimidating skinhead, a knife-carrying punk, that winds up befriending and defending the film’s nerdy hero). It’s the wounded anger in his simmering eyes and twitching eyebrows, the DeNiro-esque pout and scowl, that make him compelling. But Koteas is incapable of conveying lighthearted bliss, and so in the opening scene of “Divorce,” which is meant to set up the cozy domesticity of his marriage to Malick, he already seems ill-at-ease and tormented. He gives his wife a horse, and she’s delighted, but the scene, intended to be romantic, is darkly lit and ominous; the horse appears frighteningly larger-than-life, a bull-in-the-china-shop figure of doom. You keep expecting Koteas to pull out a knife and kill Malick, or kill the horse.

In the next scene, we’re in the ugly present, with Malick and Koteas squabbling and cursing at each other, and you start seeing the slow-burn anger of Koteas’ character. But this, too, is never fleshed out. For the rest of the film, Koteas is a near-silent mope, and he becomes a sort-of sounding board for his equally miserable friends’ marital traumas. It’s commendable that Lottimer saw a range in Koteas that he wanted to capitalize on, and that Koteas tried out a new style, but it’s not one that fits. It isn’t particularly interesting to watch Koteas play a doormat, especially in a film this listlessly shot and produced.

So the pleasures of “Divorce” turn out to be subsidiary. The screaming scene with Crosby (whose husband, McDonald, has succumbed to heroin abuse and affairs with porn stars) is a campy, irrelevant, drama-class exercise, but amusing nonetheless. McDonald, a bulky, jocular presence, looks fundamentally ridiculous playing a slobbering, bed-ridden junkie (sadly, his trysts with the porn stars are kept entirely off-camera). Funniest of all is Kiser, who plays a high-powered corporate lawyer (the only urban scene is shot at his office) and a secret gun nut. He scares his wife (Talia Shire, playing yet another scared woman) half to death with his outbursts, yet inconceivably, she keeps deciding to stay with him; you’d think, from the half-hearted way she complains about Kiser to Koteas, that her only issue with him is that he forgets to take out the trash. Kiser provides a long-overdue jolt of energy in the film’s second half. And Beverly D’Angelo (who chose to remain uncredited) is sexy as a fellow rancher that Koteas shacks up with.maxresdefaultCertainly Lottimer assembled enough talent–and must have been feeling enough pain, himself–to make a powerhouse film, but “Divorce” isn’t that film. It’s certainly a bizarre kind of failure, though, and better than plenty of other straight-to-video fodder you see on Netflix. (The film’s only theatrical release, as far as I can tell, was at the Temecula Film Festival in 1998). Since then, Lottimer has directed a TV series (“Good Time Golf”) and settled in New Mexico, where (according to an on-line bulletin I stumbled upon) he’s attempting to put on his play, “Your Aura is Throbbing.” He runs a film company called Ebaline Films, which is in the process of producing several films, including one about Tupac Shakur. He’s also an acting teacher.

REVIEW: LET ME IN

CAST

Chloe Grace Moretz (Kick-Ass)
Kodi Smit-McPhee (X-Men: APocalypse)
Richard Jenkins (The Cabin In The Woods)
Cara Buono (Happy Accidents)
Elias Koteas (Crash)
Sasha Barrese (The Ring)
Dylan Minnette (Don’t Breathe)
Ritchie Coster (The Dark Knight)
Chris Browning (Agent Carter)

In March 1983, in Los Alamos, New Mexico, a disfigured man is taken to the hospital. An unnamed police detective tries to question him about a recent murder. The detective is called to a phone and told that the man’s daughter was just downstairs. While he is on the phone, the man jumps out of the window, leaving behind a scrawled note that reads “I’m sorry Abby.”Two weeks earlier, Owen, an unhappy and lonely 12-year-old boy who is neglected by his divorcing parents, sees a young girl named Abby and an older man, Thomas, moving in next door and notices that she is barefoot despite the snow. Owen meets Abby one night and asks if she is cold upon seeing no footwear on her feet. Abby states that she doesn’t get cold. Owen and Abby become close friends and start communicating by Morse code through the walls of their apartments. At school, a bully named Kenny and two of his friends, Donald and Mark, constantly terrorize Owen, who lies to his mother about it but tells Abby the truth. Abby encourages him to retaliate.Thomas murders a man and collects the blood, but accidentally spills it. Hungry, Abby attacks a concerned neighbor named Jack to drink his blood, revealing that she is a vampire. On another night, Thomas hides in the back of a teenager’s car, murders the passenger, and tries to flee, but crashes the car and becomes trapped inside. He pours concentrated sulfuric acid on his face, disfiguring himself to prevent his identification. He is taken to the hospital, bringing the story back to the first scene.Abby learns what happened and climbs up the hospital building to see Thomas after speaking to the front desk worker who noticed that Abby is barefoot upon departure and couldn’t find her afterwards. She knocks on the window and he points to his throat, unable to speak, and leans out of the window; Abby drinks his blood. Thomas passes out and falls to his death. That night, Owen is awakened by Abby who insists he verbally invite her in. She spends the night in his bed upon discarding her clothes and agrees to be his girlfriend. The next day, Owen’s class goes ice-skating on the river. Kenny and his friends threaten to throw Owen into a hole in the ice. Emboldened by his relationship with Abby, Owen hits Kenny with a metal pole, splitting his left ear and causing him to scream in pain. At the same moment, several kids spot a body encased in the ice and begin screaming. It is the body of Jack, who Thomas threw into the (then unfrozen) river. Along with the body is Thomas’s bag.Later, Owen sees Abby and hoping to make a blood pact with her, cuts his finger. Unable to control herself, Abby laps up a drop of Owen’s blood revealing her vampire form. Not wanting to hurt Owen, she flees and instead attacks a woman named Virginia upon jumping out of a tree. Virginia’s boyfriend Larry witnesses the attack and calls an ambulance upon chasing her off. The next night, Abby admits to Owen that she is a vampire and that Thomas was not her father. Owen discovers an aged photo of her with Thomas as a young boy. As Thomas continued to age, he posed as Abby’s father while she did not physically age past twelve. In the hospital the next morning, a nurse goes into Virginia’s unit to open the curtains and finds Virginia feasting on her own bloody wrists. She has been turned into a vampire by Abby. As sunlight enters the room, Virginia bursts into flames that quickly spread throughout the unit, killing them both and setting the entire floor on fire.Owen sneaks out to spend the night at Abby’s. The next morning, the detective forces his way into Abby’s apartment and finds her asleep. He begins to uncover a window but is distracted by Owen. Abby wakes and attacks the detective to feed on his blood. The dying detective appeals to Owen for help, but Owen does not intervene. Abby tells Owen she will have to leave town. They share a kiss and he watches tearfully as she enters a taxi and leaves.During Owen’s swim class, Kenny, his sadistic older brother Jimmy, and their friends, are seeking revenge for the injury Owen had inflicted to Kenny’s ear. They ambush Owen and throw him into the pool. Jimmy says that if Owen can hold his breath underwater for three minutes, he will only be cut on the cheek, otherwise Jimmy will poke out one of Owen’s eyes. Owen is forced underwater by Jimmy. After one minute, Kenny and his friends realize this is excessive and try telling Jimmy to stop, but he angrily refuses. But then an unseen assailant breaks through the skylight, attacking the bullies, and Owen sees torn-off limbs sinking into the pool all around him. Owen emerges from pool to catch his breath and then sees a pair of familiar bare feet come near him. He then looks up, faintly smiling to see an off-screen Abby.Owen leaves town in broad daylight on a train, traveling with a large trunk. From inside, a message in Morse code is tapped out. Owen taps out a response and then looks out the window, quietly singing to himself “Eat some now, save some for later,” the jingle of Now and Later candy, which Abby and Owen had shared in an earlier scene.This is complex and multi-layered horror story-telling, and a minor masterpiece. Well worth watching in its own right – and then worth comparing with the original, Let The Right One In, so you can judge for yourself which is the most effective. Unlike many Hollywood remakes of European films, this one really was worth doing

REVIEW: POWER OF ATTORNERY

CAST

Danny Aiello (Leon)
Elias Koteas (Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles)
Rae Dawn Chong (Commando)
Roger Wilson (Blow Out)
Nina Siemaszko (Airheads)
Andrew Airlie (Reaper)

357392_full

Being a fan of Elias Koteas, I happened along this little gem of a movie. It’s one of the only times I can remember seeing him as a leading man, usually he plays off-beat quirky roles a la “Exotica” and “Crash”. All in all, he is very convincing as an ambitious lawyer, who succumbs not only to money but to pride as well. The story starts off slowly but before you know it, it sucks you into it’s Machiavellian plot. The film’s style is naturalistic and you almost feel like you are in the same room as the characters. Danny Aiello, who usually plays blustery, larger than life characters, gives a wonderfully nuanced performance of a John Gotti type character. It would have been very easy for him to turn this stereotypcal don into a Godfather cliche, but instead, the director chose for him to play down the part. Although the production value could have been better(the music sucks and doubling Vancouver for New York was a poor choice) I feel that this intelligent courtroom drama is worth checking out.

REVIEW: SHUTTER ISLAND

CAST

Leonardo DiCaprio (Inception)
Mark Ruffalo (Avengers Assemble)
Ben Kingsley (Iron Man 3)
Max Von Sydow (Conan The Barbarian)
Michelle Williams (My Week With Marilyn)
Emily Mortimer (Lars and The Real Girl)
Patricia Clarkson (Easy A)
Jackie Earle Haley (Watchmen)
Ted Levine (The Silence of The Lambs_
Elias Koteas (Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles)

In 1954, U.S. Marshals Edward “Teddy” Daniels and his new partner Chuck Aule travel to the Ashecliffe Hospital for the criminally insane on Shutter Island in Boston Harbor. They are investigating the disappearance of patient Rachel Solando, who was incarcerated for drowning her three children. Their only clue is a cryptic note found hidden in Solando’s room: “The law of 4; who is 67?” They arrive just before a storm hits, preventing their return to the mainland for a few days.Daniels and Aule find the staff confrontational. Dr. John Cawley, the lead psychiatrist, refuses to turn over records, and they learn that Solando’s doctor Lester Sheehan left the island on vacation immediately after Solando disappeared. They are given access to the hospital, but they are told that Ward C is off limits and that the lighthouse has already been searched. While being interviewed, one patient secretly writes the word “RUN” in Daniels’ notepad. Daniels starts to have migraine headaches from the hospital’s atmosphere and experiences waking visions of his involvement in the Dachau liberation reprisals. He has disturbing dreams of his wife Dolores Chanal, who was killed in a fire set by a local arsonist named Andrew Laeddis. In one instance, she tells him that Solando is still on the island somewhere—as is Laeddis, who everyone claims was never there to begin with. Daniels later explains to Aule that locating Laeddis was an ulterior personal motive for taking the case.During their investigation, Daniels and Aule find that Solando has abruptly resurfaced with no explanation as to her former whereabouts or how she escaped. This prompts Daniels to break into the restricted Ward C. There he encounters George Noyce, a patient in solitary confinement. Noyce warns him that the doctors are performing questionable experiments on the patients, some of whom are taken to the lighthouse to be lobotomized. Noyce warns Daniels that everyone else on the island is playing an elaborate game specifically designed for Daniels—including his partner Aule.Daniels regroups with Aule and is determined to investigate the lighthouse. They become separated while climbing the cliffs toward it, and Daniels later sees what he believes to be Aule’s body on the rocks below. By the time he climbs down, however, the body has disappeared, but he finds a cave where he discovers a woman in hiding who claims to be the real Rachel Solando. She states that she is a former psychiatrist at the hospital who discovered the experiments with psychotropic medication and trans-orbital lobotomy in an attempt to develop mind control techniques. Before she could report her findings to the authorities, however, she was forcibly committed to Ashecliffe as a patient. Daniels returns to the hospital, but finds no evidence of Aule ever being there.Daniels is convinced that Aule was taken to the lighthouse; he breaks into it only to discover Cawley calmly waiting there for him. Cawley explains that Daniels is actually Andrew Laeddis, their “most dangerous patient” incarcerated in Ward C for murdering his manic depressive wife Dolores Chanal after she drowned their children. Edward Daniels and Rachel Solando are anagrams of Andrew Laeddis and Dolores Chanal; furthermore, the little girl from Laeddis’ recurring dreams is his daughter Rachel.According to Cawley, the events of the past several days have been designed to break Laeddis’ conspiracy-laden insanity by allowing him to play out the role of Daniels. The hospital staff were part of the test, including Dr. Sheehan posing as Aule and a nurse posing as Rachel Solando. The migraines that Laeddis suffered were withdrawal symptoms from his medication, as were the hallucinations of the “real Rachel Solando”. Overwhelmed, Laeddis faints. Laeddis awakens in the hospital under watch of Cawley and Sheehan. When questioned, he tells the truth in a coherent manner, which satisfies the doctors as a sign of progression. Nevertheless, Cawley notes that they had achieved this state nine months before but Laeddis had quickly regressed, and further warns that this will be his last chance to redeem himself.Some time later, Laeddis relaxes on the hospital grounds with Dr. Sheehan, but he calls him “Chuck” and says that they need to leave the island. Sheehan shakes his head to an observing Cawley, who gestures to the orderlies towards Laeddis. Laeddis asks Dr. Sheehan if it is worse to live as a monster or die as a good man, and is then led away by the orderlies.Shutter Island iS a film that will make you question your own sanity. A film that will leave you breathless. A film that has re-ignited the thriller genre. A film that will leave you, and the main character, searching for answers.

REVIEW: THE PROPHECY

CAST

Christopher Walken (Pulp Fiction)
Elias Koteas (Crash)
Virginia Madsen (Sideways)
Eric Stoltz (Caprica)
Viggo Motensen (Lord of The Rings)
Amanda Plummer (drunks)
Adam Goldberg (A Beautiful Mind)
Steve Hytner (Roswell)
Sandra Ellis Lafferty (Walk The Line)

Evil-Bong-EebeeThomas Dagget, a Catholic seminary student, loses his faith when he sees disturbing visions of a war between angels. Years later, Thomas is a detective with the Los Angeles Police Department. Two angels fall to Earth: one, Simon, enters Thomas’ home and warns him of coming events, before disappearing. The second, Usiel, a lieutenant of the angel Gabriel, is killed in an altercation with Simon. Investigating the disturbance, Thomas finds in Simon’s apartment the obituary of a recently deceased Korean War veteran named Colonel Arnold Hawthorne and the theology thesis about angels which Thomas himself wrote in seminary. Meanwhile, in Chimney Rock, Arizona, Simon finds the dead veteran awaiting burial and sucks the evil soul out of the body.prophecy_1000_420_90_c1The medical examiner informs Thomas that Usiel’s body is like nothing he has seen before: it has no eyes, no signs of bone growth, hermaphroditism, and the same blood chemistry as an aborted fetus. Among the personal effects found on the body is an ancient, hand-written Bible, which includes an extra chapter of the Book of Revelation that describes a second war in heaven and prophecy that a “dark soul” will be found on Earth and used as a weapon. Unknown to Thomas, Gabriel arrives on Earth. Needing a human helper, Gabriel catches Jerry, a suicide, in the moment of his death and keeps him in a state of limbo. Unhappily dominated by Gabriel, Jerry retrieves Usiel’s belongings from the police station while Gabriel destroys Usiel’s body in the morgue. After finding Hawthorne’s obituary, Gabriel and Jerry head for Chimney Rock. Before Gabriel arrives, at the local reservation school Simon hides Hawthorne’s soul in a little Native American girl, Mary, who immediately falls ill and is taken care of by her teacher, Katherine.galleryimage_image_407After finding Usiel’s burnt body, all evidence of its oddity now lost, Thomas hurries to Chimney Rock. When Gabriel realizes Hawthorne’s soul is missing, he confronts Simon. Gabriel says Hawthorne’s soul will tip the balance to whichever side possesses it. Should the rebellious angels win, Heaven will become like Hell with earth in its thrall. Simon refuses to reveal its location, and Gabriel kills him, ripping out his heart. Mary shows signs of possession by the evil soul; she suddenly recounts an incident from Hawthorne’s harrowing war experiences in first-person perspective. Meanwhile, Thomas examines Simon’s remains and questions Katherine. In Hawthorne’s home, he finds evidence of war crimes. Thomas visits a church to reflect and is shaken by a verbal confrontation with Gabriel. He is beginning to understand the nature of the jealous angels who hate humans because God loves them most.The-Prophecy-UzielAt school, Katherine finds Gabriel questioning the children. After he leaves, she rushes to Mary’s home and finds Thomas there. As Mary’s condition worsens, Katherine takes Thomas to an abandoned mine where she had seen Gabriel. Inside, they find angelic script and experience together a terrible vision of the angelic war. They rush back to Mary’s home, only to find Gabriel and Jerry there. Thomas kills Jerry, who thanks him for the release. Katherine stops Gabriel temporarily when her wild gunshot misses him and blows up Mary’s trailer home. The three protagonists flee to a Native American site where Mary can be exorcised. In a hospital ICU ward, Gabriel recruits a new unwilling assistant, Rachael, just as she dies of a terminal illness. He needs her because he doesn’t know how to drive.The-Prophecy-1995-7That night, Lucifer confronts Katherine and tells her that “other angels” have taken up this war against mankind, and since then, no human souls have been able to enter Heaven. He knows of Gabriel’s plot to use Hawthorne’s soul to overthrow the obedient angels. He also knows that if Gabriel wins the war under his influence Heaven will ultimately devolve into another Hell, which Lucifer considers “one Hell too many”. The next day, Lucifer appears to Thomas and advises him to use Gabriel’s lack of faith against him. Gabriel arrives and attempts to disrupt the exorcism ritual. Thomas kills Rachel, and he and Katherine fight Gabriel.prophecy3Lucifer appears first encouraging the tribe to complete the exorcism. Then he confronts Gabriel telling him that his war is based upon arrogance, which is evil, making it Lucifer’s territory. Gabriel taunts Lucifer about his past when he fell from grace; Lucifer tells Gabriel he needs to go home and rips out his heart. Simultaneously Mary expels out Hawthorne’s soul, a rancid cloud of evil. The “enemy ghost” starts to attack the people but a bright light from Heaven immediately destroys it. With the threat to his evil kingdom eliminated, Lucifer tells Thomas and Katherine to “come home” with him. They staunchly refuse. “I have my soul…and my faith,” declares Thomas. Lucifer drags Gabriel to Hell. As morning comes, Thomas comments on the nature of faith and what it means to truly be human.walken004This movie is blessed with terrific acting. Christopher Walken in particular delivers a powerful portrayal of the tortured archangel Gabriel. There are some pretty good special effects, particularly those showing the horrors of the fighting among the angels in heaven itself. Most religious individuals should have no real problems with The Prophecy because it never portrays itself as representing some kind of truth or challenges its viewers’ own beliefs. While the movie has its flaws, it succeeds in presenting a problematical storyline with the required seriousness it requires in order to be effective.

REVIEW: THE KILLER INSIDE ME

CAST

Casey Affleck (Gone Baby Gone)
Jessica Alba (Machete)
Kate Hudson (Gossip)
Ned Beatty (Superman)
Tom Bower (Beverly Hills Cop 3)
Elias Koteas (Crash)
Simon Baker (The Mentalist)
Bill Pullman (Spaceballs)
Brent Briscoe (The Grind)
Matthew Maher (Vulgar)
Noah Crawford (My Name Is Earl)

In 1952, Deputy Sheriff Lou Ford (Casey Affleck) is a pillar of the community in his small west Texas town — patient, dependable, and well-liked. However, he is a sociopath with violent sexual tastes. As a teenager, Lou was caught raping a five-year-old girl by his adopted brother Mike, who pleaded guilty to the crime and served prison time to protect Lou. After being released, Mike was hired by the construction firm of Chester Conway (Ned Beatty). Mike died on the job after slipping and falling off a beam. Lou believes that Conway staged the “accident”.At the request of Sheriff Bob Maples (Tom Bower), Lou visits Joyce Lakeland (Jessica Alba), a prostitute who is having an affair with Conway’s son, Elmer (Jay R. Ferguson). When Joyce objects to Lou’s treatment of her, he violently beats and spanks her until her buttocks are bruised. Joyce enjoys pain, and she and Lou begin a passionate love affair. Joyce suggests that Lou would never leave town with her, but they devise a plot to extort $10,000 from the Conways. Sheriff Maples and Chester Conway ask Lou to oversee the pay-off. But Lou has other plans: he brutally beats Joyce to the point he believes her to be dead, and when Elmer arrives, Lou shoots and kills him. He then plants the gun on Joyce, hoping to make the scene look like the two have killed each other, however Joyce survives the ordeal. Then Conway announces his intention to see her executed for killing Elmer.Lou’s reputation begins to falter: his girlfriend and fiancee Amy (Kate Hudson) suspects him of infidelity, and the county district attorney Howard Hendricks (Simon Baker), who has arrived in town to investigate the murders, suspects that Lou could be the killer. Lou accompanies Sheriff Maples and Conway in taking Joyce to the hospital in Fort Worth; Conway wants her alive so he can interrogate her. Lou waits in a hotel room while the surgery takes place. Maples tells him that Joyce died on the operating table. Lou and Maples return to west Texas. Back at his home, Lou discovers explicit photographs of a woman inside a Bible. The woman was Helene, a housekeeper and babysitter from his youth who bears a resemblance to Joyce. Lou recalls that Helene introduced him to sadomasochism, urging him to strike her. Lou burns the photos.imagesHendricks arrests Johnnie Pappas (Liam Aiken), a local youth whom Lou had previously befriended as a suspect in the murders of Elmer and Joyce. He was found with one of the $20 bills that Elmer was supposed to give to Joyce in the pay-off; Conway had the bills marked in order to blackmail Joyce if she didn’t leave town. Because Lou is close to Johnnie, Hendricks asks Lou to persuade him to confess, but it was Lou himself who had given Johnnie the marked $20 bill as a tip. In the prison cell Lou confesses to Johnnie that he was the one responsible. When they are alone in his cell, Lou hangs Johnnie to make it appear as a though he committed suicide out of guiltimagesJohnnie’s death only makes the town more suspicious of Lou. Journalist and union organizer Joe Rothman (Elias Koteas), who had previously suggested that Conway had Lou’s foster brother Mike killed, implies that he knows that Lou killed Elmer and Joyce. Lou coaxes Amy to elope with him as he proposes to her. To sate Lou’s violent predilections, she acquiesces to his desire to spank her. An alcoholic bum (Brent Briscoe), whom Lou had previously burnt with a cigar, has been trailing Lou and knows that he was responsible for the murders of Elmer and Joyce. He demands $5,000 to keep quiet, to which Lou agrees. On the day which Lou and Amy had planned to elope, Lou beats Amy to death, and when the bum sees her body, he runs for help. Lou chases the bum, shouting that he has murdered Amy. Another deputy, Jeff Plummer (Matthew Maher) opens fire on the bum, and shoots him dead.the_killer_inside_me07The next morning Plummer informs Lou of Sheriff Maples suicide, convinced of Lou’s guilt and heartbroken over his crimes. Hendricks and Plummer try to get a confession from Lou, who cockily refuses. They have a letter that Amy intended to give to him before they eloped, in which Amy begs him to come clean. Lou is arrested, and after a week in prison is sent to an insane asylum. While there, he suffers hallucinations of Amy and Helene. After a few weeks, a slick lawyer named Billy Boy Walker (Bill Pullman) has him released and drives him home. Walker has been hired by Joe Rothman to protect the union man. Lou tells Walker his whole story and concludes that he doesn’t want anyone else to die. Lost in his violent fantasies, Lou douses his home in gasoline and alcohol, arms himself with a knife, and sits in his study to await retribution. As police vehicles and armed policemen arrive, Lou sees a car pull up with Hendricks, Conway, Plummer and the still-alive Joyce. As Joyce tells Lou that she refused to cooperate with the authorities, Lou tells her he loves her, then stabs her in the stomach. Plummer opens fire, hitting both Joyce and Lou and igniting the gasoline in the house. Outside, the approaching policemen see the house engulfed in a huge fireball, which it appears Lou has ignited to kill himself.371266752_640The film has an almost art house feel to it and this is reflected in both Affleck’s unsettling performance and the story itself. You are asked to make some of the conclusions yourself and decide who you think is right or wrong. Ford is charismatic enough that you sometimes like him even though he is evil. This is an impressive thing to pull off and Affleck and Winterbottom should be proud. A dark and powerful film that will not appeal to everyone.