What went on with Ted Bundy before his execution.
The story of Ted Bundy is an infamous one, regarding him as a serial killer, who kidnapped, raped, and murdered young women in the 1970s. Zac Efron portrayed him quite well in “Extremely Wicked, Shockingly Evil and Vile,” and both Efron and Bundy look alike. And whether Netflix, which distributed that film, told viewers not to call the killer hot, I didn’t think he was in any way.
Now, released by RLJE Films, we have “No Man of God,” which is based on the recordings and transcripts between Bundy and an FBI analyst, just before he went to the electric chair. This true story is set in the late 1980s, and director Amber Sealey and writer C. Robert Cargill (a former film critic) both provide the humanity and vulnerabilities inside these two men, even if we all loathe the killer. It’s more about a friendship between the killer and analyst in a way of understanding the mind and soul of a hated person. In this case, I don’t even think we can call Ted Bundy a person.
Elijah Wood produces and plays the analyst Bill Hagmaier, while Luke Kirby portrays Bundy, who doesn’t even trust him during the interview. All the agent wants out of his story is an understanding on what he has seen, what he has done, and how he observes his life. Bundy says he’s tired of people thinking he’s crazy, and he begins examining the analyst about his life, his relationship with his father, and how he joined the FBI. His boss (Robert Patrick) warns him not to get too close to the killer, or else he’ll lose himself.
We get to the point when Bundy admits about the girls he’s killed and/or kidnapped. Some of them got away, others weren’t lucky. He tells Hagmaier about it, and he goes on television to admit his crimes. And at this point, his time for the electric chair is coming faster than a freight train. Hagmaier sticks by him during his last few hours, and tries to help him get right with God.
“No Man of God” isn’t always deep or accurate in its dramatization of the true story, but it does provide the darkness and psychology of how the analyst was examining the killer, and gives Wood and Kirby excellent performances in those roles. Wood seems meek and emotionally complex when his character breaks outside his comfort zone, while Kirby is manipulative and complex in how he represents Bundy in his final days.
I’m not psychiatrist, but I can tell that the human mind can be a challenging one, depending on who that particular person chooses to be. It’s about what a person knows, what he believes, and what went on. Seeing these two individuals in the same room is really thought provoking. And the movie is thought provoking.
The last half hour is also riveting as we see them prepare for Bundy’s execution, because it shows the convictions of how he must prepare for death, while Hagmaier can’t tell him where he’s going when he dies-Heaven or Hell. Probably Hell. And like “Extremely Wicked, Shockingly Evil and Vile,” “No Man of God” is another worthy Ted Bundy biopic of this new generation.
In Select Theaters and On Demand