Winterbottom defends graphic violence in new film

Fri Feb 19, 2010 10:13am EST
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By Mike Collett-White

BERLIN (Reuters) - British director Michael Winterbottom has defended graphic scenes of violence in his latest movie "The Killer Inside Me" which prompted dozens of people to walk out of a press screening in disgust.

The movie, starring a U.S. cast of Casey Affleck, Jessica Alba and Kate Hudson, had already caused a stir when it was shown at the Sundance festival last month, and it is now in competition at Berlin where it premieres on Friday.

The Killer Inside Me is based on a pulp fiction novel by Jim Thompson, which Winterbottom said left a deep impression on him when he read it.

The most explicit violence comes early on in the movie when Affleck's character, the respected yet creepy deputy sheriff Lou Ford, decides to beat his prostitute girlfriend Joyce (Alba) to death in order to frame an old enemy and take his money.

Little is left to the imagination as Ford punches Joyce repeatedly in the face until he presumes her dead.

In a later scene, he metes out similar punishment to Amy (Hudson), although it does not have the same level of detail. Several sex scenes also involve sado-masochistic elements.

"A lot of noir books and films show violence as something which is entertaining," Winterbottom told reporters at a press conference dominated by questions about the on-screen violence.

"What I liked about Jim Thompson's books is that, though very much in the pulp fiction genre, he doesn't use the violence as entertainment -- there is something shocking about the violence.   Continued...

<p>Film director Michael Winterbottom poses during a photocall to promote the movie "The Killer inside me" at the Berlinale International Film Festival in Berlin, February 19, 2010. REUTERS/Christian Charisius</p>