This film has gotten a significant amount of publicity for the graphic violence within and the press is not understated or overstated in this case. I am not a fan of violent films but can tolerate bursts but not necessarily continous streams. This film fell into the former category so I managed to last through it.
The opening sequences are full of amazing graphics and great music and set you up for a strange experience. This film is a tad fragmented. Beautifully shot and some great emotive thoughts rushing through the head sequences it follows the smallish-town cop Lou Reed - brilliantly rendered by Casey Affleck - whose encounter with a prostitute operating on the outskirts of town switches a trigger and unlocks a part of him long buried and unleashes the darkness within.
The camera work, lighting and graphics in this film are flawless and if you can stomach the violence the Noir like rendering of this film is amazing. Most of the characters (Simon Baker's persistent cop for example) are not so well-drawn and are there for the part they play in progressing the plot only.
Director Michael Winterbottom's films have been continously evolving. I can't wait to see what he doesn next. Before I forget to mention it - Both Jessica Alba and Kate Hudson were perfectly pitched in this film.