"How dare you?" That's what one appalled movie buff asked director Michael Winterbottom when 'The Killer Inside Me' premiered at Sundance in January. She wasn't alone; many critics have condemned the film, which is based on the celebrated Jim Thompson novel about a small-town sheriff's deputy who's also a cold-blooded serial killer.
At a time when mainstream action and horror movies routinely show plenty of gore, Winterbottom has seen his little art-house movie (which opens in limited release on June 18) become the year's most controversial film to date. It has only a couple of unflinchingly violent sequences, but in those scenes (spoiler alert), the targets of the violence are played by two of Hollywood's most in-demand young actresses, Kate Hudson and Jessica Alba. Winterbottom's camera lingers on their suffering as protagonist Lou Ford (Casey Affleck) pummels the life out of them with his fists.