No Man of God
I seem to have picked a pretty good place to start with this month's theme of real-life serial killers brought to the screen in some way shape or form. Therefore, I'd like to take this opportunity to state that if you're no fan of true crime, or indeed, if any of this may be triggering in any sense of the word, one may wanna skip over these next four reviews. However, I will try to refrain from such things as much as possible. We kick things off with a release from just last year, 'No Man of God', centring on who may very well be the poster boy for serial killers in general, Ted Bundy.
There are a few Bundy titles out there, but this one grabbed my attention after hearing it referenced on a certain true crime podcast I listen to. What struck me about it was the idea of it being based on real transcripts chosen from conversations between Bundy (Luke Kirby) and FBI Special Agent Bill Hagmaier (Elijah Wood), ranging from 1984 to 1989. The pair form a complicated relationship during Bundy's final years, and here we see a pretty damn solid case of hero-relates-to-villain, as seen perhaps most famously in the movie 'Heat', but has been done a number of times before.
Having said that, I should probably say that as far as the hero and villain in this case are concerned, the film does a wonderful job of humanizing them both. There are moments they just have a laugh, moments that almost (they don't though) allow you to empathize with Bundy. One great moment in the film involved Bundy asking Hagmaier if he could ever kill someone, and I won't spoil anything, but let's just say the response is rather interesting. And again, don't get the wrong idea here, Bundy's where he needs to be right now. But this does provide an interesting look into Bundy's psyche, which is what it's all about, to begin with.
Right off the bat, I'm going to say that this is a film for the real die-hard fans of true crime who could be interested in something like this. While there's a nice change of pace from the typical Hollywood glorification of these serial killers here, there was something very real about this one in that it's pretty much all talking. The film is essentially one long interview, stitched together with a whole bunch of metaphorical imagery, giving the film a very artsy feel in a sense. But if you can allow yourself to sink into it, the performances are well worth the trip. Luke Kirby does an amazing Ted Bundy here, and Elijah Wood does a good job of flexing his acting muscles here, not so much being the Frodo he's become known as.
I think of all the movies I have on this particular list, this is the most real, and far away from any sort of "Hollywoodification". If you're interested in true crime stuff and have any sort of particular interest in Ted Bundy, then this could very well be the film for you, being just on the edge of documentary-style, and above all else, using real transcripts of the convos between these two. It's a pretty neat delve into the human psyche altogether - not just into Bundy's, but I do have to warn that it is very dry. When I say it's like one long interview, I do mean that. There's a break here and there, but if you want to see a serial killer movie for any sort of thrill, this is not the one to pick. Personally, I was pretty lukewarm to it. It's very interesting stuff, but I can't deny getting bored along the way either. So where's the line for me? The next film is a pretty "Dahm" good example of it.
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