Deputy Lou Ford (Affleck) is well-respected in the small Texas town where he lives, and is preparing to marry Amy (Hudson), his long-time girlfriend. But when his boss asks him to run local hooker Joyce Lakeland (Alba) out of town, she instead re-opens his darker side. Lou's psychopathy has laid dormant for many years, since an unsavory incident when he was a teenager, for which his late foster brother took the rap. Now, Lou hatches a plan that will satisfy his impulses, both taking care of Joyce, for whom his feelings cause guilt, and extracting revenge on those he blames for his sibling's death. However, things don't quite go as planned, and the more Lou tries to tie up the loose ends, the more loose ends seem to appear. And Lou's mechanism for handling these seems to involve a lot of pummeling them, which tends not to resolve the issues.
The problem is that Lou is, in no way likeable, and isn't very interesting either. He's not even a very good killer, apparently believing that htting someone repeatedly with your fist is enough to kill them. Not unless you're Mike Tyson, Lou... Then, having seen that it doesn't, he basically repeats the exercise. The film did come in for criticism for its violence, and it's fair comment, since it's only ever the women whose brutalization is shown in lurid detail. I sense the novel on which this was based, might have given a bit more character insight. Instead, once you get past the shock of an art-house maverick like Winterbottom lovingly depicting Alba being repeatedly punched in the face [I guess he saw Into the Blue], there isn't much to this, in terms of enjoyment or even appreciation. The ever-increasing flailings of Lou to escape the noose law-enforcement are tightening around his neck, is occasionally interesting, but the flaws on the way there are too significant to be overlooked.