British director Michael Winterbottom is "surprised" by the negative reaction to the graphic violence in his shocking new movie The Killer Inside ME - insisting he didn't deliberately set out to offend cinema-goers.
The film, which stars Casey Affleck as psychotic killer Lou Ford, has divided audiences with its gory content, including one disturbing scene inwhich Jessica Alba's character is beaten until she is no longer recognisable.
But not in the sense that, 'Oh this'll be great because it'll cause a lot of controversy'
A review of the film's screening at the Sundance Film Festival earlier this year (10) by Damon Wise, a critic for Empire magazine, reads, "What's not very standard, however, is the violence... The cruelty in this filmgoes way beyond the endurance level of the average viewer... There is noartful surrealism, just bleak, bloody and unjustifiable punishment, mostof it (but not only) directed against women".
But Winterbottom is baffled by the furore over the film, insisting he didn't include the shocking scenes just to provoke "controversy".
He says, "I've been a little surprised that people have found it so hard to watch the two main violent scenes. I don't think they are that visually graphic compared to other films. I think it's more to do with Casey'sperformance and the character of Lou and the intimacy of those scenes".
And the moviemaker is adamant he was just trying to remain faithful to the 1952 pulp novel of the same name by Jim Thompson, on which the film is based.
He adds, "I was trying to make a very literal version of the book, and the scenes are shocking in the book - they make you stop. So should it beshocking when Lou punches (Alba's character) Joyce. It should be as shocking as it would be in real life. But not in the sense that, 'Oh this'll be great because it'll cause a lot of controversy'".