Suvi's Reviews > The Killer Inside Me

The Killer Inside Me by Jim Thompson
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's review
Jun 26, 2012

really liked it
bookshelves: 1940-1969, novels, crime-mystery, _north-america

I saw the film version a while ago, and it didn't convince me that much, even though Casey Affleck's performance was hauntingly perfect. So, when I saw this in the library, I thought I should at least take a look. What a disturbing experience that was. It was like watching a horror movie: you want to close your eyes, but you can't. I could not put this down. Fortunately this was mercifully short, a larger dose would have been way too much.

Thompson didn't get much recognition while he was still alive, which is a shame since this is in a lot of ways a more interestingly executed piece of hard-boiled literature than Candler's works. The style is concise and intense, and all the characters are in some ways unpleasant. Of course, Lou Ford is the most disturbing of them all. It doesn't matter at all that you can kind of sense the end result from the beginning, since it's interesting to follow how Ford will deal with the situation. Underneath that calm and simple exterior he's a complete psychopath. The violence itself is more unpleasant than usual, even though the scenes aren't bloodbaths. After the finale Ford is sure to haunt you for a while.

By the way, I was reading some of the critique concerning the movie, and it doesn't really make sense. The film is actually a very faithful adaptation of the book, so the critics should have taken that into consideration. Most of the violence is targeted at women, but that doesn't make the director or author misogynists. Sure, I got a bit queasy, but would it be better if no violence towards women was ever portrayed anywhere? I think the audience was just in shock, because they hadn't seen anything that realistic before. Or maybe because there aren't actually that many scenes of violence, so it feels more nauseating. The essence of the story is Ford's inner struggle and keeping everything under control. So, in second thought, I'd recommend the movie as well, since it is actually a quite stylish modern film noir. Just read the book first, you'll get more out of it.
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