No Man of God
No Man of God gives us reason to believe that the Ted Bundy narrative can still be compelling if told in a fresh way. The infamously prolific serial killer has been examined on-screen so many times, with the highest profile project – Zac Efron starrer Extremely Wicked, Shockingly Evil and Vile – being received with some fatigue for the oft-told tale. However, with just the power of dialogue, Amber Sealey’s new film reinvigorates interest in the true crime story.
Focused on the relationship between Bundy (Luke Kirby) and FBI analyst Bill Hagmaier (Elijah Wood), this feature plays like a special episode of Manhunter with its tight focus on the two central characters. Viewers are largely observing the whole scenario from the third-person perspective, sat in the middle of the two individuals as they spar back and forth during the criminal’s latter years on death row.
The reason it’s so compelling to watch is because, firstly, writer Kit Lesser efficiently transcribes the real-life recordings for an authentic experience. Secondly, the actors commanding the co-lead roles are brilliant at bringing the recordings to life. In fact, Kirby may be even more compelling than Efron’s depiction. Thirdly, the director superbly uses form to cinematically convey the tête-à-tête, carefully placing and selecting exterior shots that carry scary implications when juxtaposed with the killer’s testimony. The highlight is a surreal moment where Bundy’s persuasion gets inside the head of Hagmaier, effectively melding their minds in an inexplicable exchange.
Whilst it is a good film about Ted Bundy, it’s far from the definitive resource, as so much of it assumes the audience already know all about the serial killer. The entry-level route still remains through certain documentaries, including Netflix’s Conversations with a Killer: The Ted Bundy Tapes. But for those who can’t get enough of the sensational chronicle of one of history’s most vile humans, No Man of God is the strongest feature film about the subject in some time.
No Man of God is released digitally on demand on 13th September 2021.
Watch the trailer for No Man of God here: