Director Michael Winterbottom has admitted his surprise at the angry reaction to his latest film The Killer Inside Me.
The film's violence - particularly against female characters - has led to walk-outs and accusations of misogyny.
"I've been a little surprised that people have found it so hard to watch the two main violent scenes," he said.
The movie stars Ben Affleck's brother Casey as a psychopathic deputy sheriff in 1950s Texas.
"I don't think they are that visually graphic compared to other films," Winterbottom told the BBC.
"I think it's more to do with Casey's performance and the character of Lou and the intimacy of those scenes."
One scene that has left some reviewers queasy is when Lou Ford beats his lover Joyce (played by Jessica Alba) until her face is unrecognisable. Kate Hudson co-stars as Lou's girlfriend Amy.
The film, out in the UK next week, divided audiences at its premiere at the Sundance film festival in January. It is based on the 1952 pulp novel of the same name by Jim Thompson.
"I was trying to make a very literal version of the book, and the scenes are shocking in the book - they make you stop," said Winterbottom.
"So should it be shocking when Lou punches 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'."
Winterbottom's past films include A Mighty Heart, A Cock and Bull Story, and 24 Hour Party People.