Directors Michael Winterbottom and Mat Whitecross are premiering a new documentary at Sundance 2010 called The Shock Doctrine, based on the best-selling book by author Naomi Klein. The film posits that governments have used periods of crisis, or “shock,” in order to foist Milton Friedman’s free-market ideologies onto the people, often to negative consequences (e.g. poverty, an expanding class gap, etc.). It’s an interesting way to view world history, and if you’re not yet familiar with Klein or her theories, I think you’ll find it fascinating (although people not terribly interested in history may find it a bit dry). Winterbottom and Whitecross previously collaborated on the excellent film, The Road to Guantanamo, documenting the imprisonment and torture of three Guantanamo detainees. And, as I’ve previously mentioned, Winterbottom is one of the most interesting filmmakers around.

Almost as interesting as the film is its distribution method. The Shock Doctrine is one of the films available on video on demand right now via the Sundance Selects  program. In this interview, I talk with Winterbottom and Whitecross about the film’s release strategy, the difficulties of using archival footage, and the lessons of The Shock Doctrine. I also manage to sneak in a few questions about Winterbottom’s controversial new film, The Killer Inside Me.

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Michael Winterbottom Defends The Killer Inside Me


Every film festival should have at least one controversial film. The outcry so far this year is coming in response to Michael Winterbottom‘s adaptation of the Jim Thompson novel The Killer Inside Me, starring Casey Affleck, Jessica Alba and Kate Hudson. Comments so far peg the film as incredibly violent, perhaps on par with previous festival firebrands Irreversible and Antichrist. The worst violence is perpetrated against women, leading to questions of misogyny.

Now Winterbottom has spoken about about the controversy. Read what he’s got to say after the break.

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Based on the novel by Jim Thompson, The Killer Inside Me tells the story of Lou Ford, an unassuming sheriff who finds himself surrounded by growing pile of murder victims. The film was directed by Michael Winterbottom, a man whose films have spanned many genres (some of which defy categorization). I was excited to see Winterbottom’s take on film noir and curious about reports that the film’s violence had sparked outrage among audiences. Hit the jump to hear my thoughts and to watch a video blog I did with Katey Rich from Cinemablend, in which we discuss the film.
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I’ve really been looking forward to footage from Michael Winterbottom‘s adaptation of the Jim Thompson novel The Killer Inside Me. I’m a massive Thompson fan, and adaptations of his novels have about a .500 average. (I’m the guy that doesn’t like The Grifters much; I infinitely prefer a movie like Tavernier’s Coup de Torchon.)

The cast here seems to be on the money — Casey Affleck as the duplicitous small-town sheriff deputy Lou Ford, Jessica Alba and Kate Hudson as the women in his life, and supporting work from Ned Beatty, Bill Pullman and Elias Koteas. Now there’s a rough long-form sales trailer that makes the concoction look fairly potent. See it after the jump. Read More »

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I’m excited for any new adaptation of the novels of Jim Thompson (who also dabbled in screenwriting, collaborating with Kubrick and Peckinpah) so it stands to reason that I’m excited to see what Michael Winterbottom is doing with his version of The Killer Inside Me. Thompson’s book follows small town Texas sheriff Lou Ford, who isn’t quite as dumb and grinningly affable as he seems. Murderous impulses lie beneath the lawman’s surface. Casey Affleck plays Ford; Kate Hudson plays the schoolteacher that wants him to marry her, and Jessica Alba is the prostitute that Ford keeps on a leash instead of running out of town. Now we’ve got some pics of the cast in character and a couple of producer interviews from the set. Read More »