The British filmmaker Michael Winterbottom today defended scenes that portray extreme violence against women in his latest film, saying that he felt the need to stay true to the pulp fiction novel on which it is based.
The Killer Inside Me
, an adaptation of the 1952 novel by Jim Thompson depicts brutal scenes of rough sex and murder.
One scene sees the main character, deputy sheriff Lou Ford – played by Casey Affleck – bludgeon his prostitute girlfriend (Jessica Alba) almost to
death until her face is unrecognisable, while later another woman (Kate Hudson) is punched repeatedly. She chokes to death as her killer and lover slips on her urine.
The attacks, accompanied by the music of Gustav Mahler and the opera Norma by
Vincenzo Bellini as well as jaunty swing tunes, are captured in close-up camera shots. Those and the sound of gurgling blood and cracking bones leave little to the imagination.
Speaking today a press screening of the film at the Berlin film
festival, which saw people walking out and booing, Winterbottom said he had deliberately intended for the film to shock: It was intentionally shocking. The whole point of the story is, here is someone who is supposed to be in love with two women who
he beats to death, and of course the violence should be shocking. If you make a film where the violence is entertaining, I think that's very questionable .
Winterbottom appeared to be mildly irritated by the criticism, which observers in
Berlin say may lead to scenes being cut before it can be made available to a wider audience: Loads of films promote violence as entertainment, but I don't think this one does and neither would I want to do something that's going to encourage violence.