TRIBECA 2010: Quick Takes: THE KILLER INSIDE ME & GAINSBOURG JE T'AIME
[ Once again, thanks goes to Aaron Krasnov ]
A lot has been said about Michael Winterbottom's The Killer Inside Me thanks to a scene in which Jessica Alba is used as a punching bag. The scene, by Winterbottom's admittance drew heavy inspiration from the fire extinguisher sequence in Irreversible. This is the scene the film will be remembered for of which many words have been written already.
Yes the scene is gruesome, but in an unrealistic she just took 3 shots to the face and is still standing way. This scene sets off the lunacy of events to come, but more on that in a bit.
In the brief Q&A after the screening Winterbottom and the film's trio of stars (Affleck, Alba, and Hudson) spoke towards the grim nature of the novel and how they worked to bring this darkness into each of their characters and the film as a whole.
This darkness is only seen in glimpses, instead an occasionally jaunty, mildly dour, tonally jumbled absurdity of a film takes its place.
Casey Affleck's reserved introspection channels the darkness of which Winterbottom speaks, getting more exaggerated as the film progresses. As with Affleck's performance the film builds from mild-mannered, gentlemanly West Texas character study to an over the top finale of absurd self destruction.
Peppered with mordant humor and upbeat southern blues the film builds similar to American Psycho and has the disposition of A History of Violence.
This is not the dark nuanced portrait of a sadistic mind it is billed as and it is not Winterbottom's best work but there is a lot to enjoy with a payoff similar to a good Tales from the Crypt episode.
I wanted to pass along my thoughts on Gainsbourg Je t'Aime... Moi Non Plus , while I wouldn't generally associate a biopic of a French singer/songwriter with Twitch the post-modernist narrative and the heavy reliance on fantastical allegory are worth a look.
I admittedly knew very little about Serge Gainsbourg or his music going into the film, I loved his daughter's performance in Antichrist , outside of that a relative blank.
The film unfolds as a whimsical journey through Gainsbourg's career, from childhood persecution by the nazis up until his eventual descent into alcoholism, wisely forgoing Gainsbourg's death. Gleefully keeping berth of traditional biopic storytelling techniques, first time director and comic artist Joann Sfar personifies Gainsbourg's character and artistry through prosthetic otherworldly doppelgangers which follow the titular artist throughout the film.
Reveling in music and cigarette smoke the film has no love for exposition, little of Gainsbourg's life is explained, it is simply on display.
With all of that said the film could use a bit of trimming, with a run time of 136 minutes, it drags a bit through the middle and is occasionally over indulgent in it's desire to be different.
A fantastic first directorial outing for Sfar and a punch in the arm to the traditional, tiresome biopic.
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