“Acting is not creativity, it’s doing what somebody else tells you to do,” Joaquin Phoenix declares in I’m Still Here, a film that charts his decision to stop being a thespian, grow a massive beard and rediscover himself as a rap artist. Is he crazy? Contradicting his own soundbyte with the most intriguing performance of his career, the answer is a resounding no. The story Phoenix and brother-in-law Casey Affleck have crafted is not insane, but assured – a fascinating study of self-identity.
If you’re already aware of The Killer Inside Me, chances are you’ll almost certainly know of it as “that film where Casey Affleck beats seven shades of blue out of Jessica Alba’s face.” You don’t have to wait long to find out that you have not been lied to. Indeed, if The Killer Inside Me sets out to make audiences feel uncomfortable, then it is an undeniable success. But does the film have anything else noteworthy to offer us?