Adapted from the novel of the same name, this review of the film:
While there exists a long and rich cinematic fascination with murderous psychotics, first person accounts are less common, and generally less agreeable to audiences (indeed, the seminal Peeping Tom effectively demolished Michael Powell’s career). After all, if the sociopath is freakishly and essentially devoid of sympathy and empathy, how are we to identify with them? The answer, in this case, is to disregard the question entirely: identification is irrelevant and impossible — we must simply find the character charismatic and watchable. This places a tremendous burden on Affleck’s shoulders, and he ably meets it — his performance is brilliant, affirming once again that he is one of the most underrated American screen actors of our time. Effortlessly underplaying a role that would tempt most actors to over-act, he modulates his expressions and physical demeanor to match, chillingly, the accounts of certain real-life sociopaths we know from the news: charming, and blandly — almost vacantly — handsome.
Told from the express point of view of a psychotic, The Killer Inside Me, with its remorseless displays of violence, is necessarily divisive. Lack of character development is a valid complaint, and indeed, flashbacks to Ford’s childhood psychosexual experiences are likely red herrings, seemingly providing no meaningful answers. Yet this is exactly what the subject matter calls for: lacking ordinary humanity, the protagonist has no “character,” as we know it. There is no explaining, no understanding. Thus, that which may well disgust certain viewers is exactly what makes The Killer Inside Me a terrifying yet ultimately compelling film.