An interesting take on the Ted Bundy story, this was well acted and effective in its tone and messaging. Rather than focus on the crimes, this film is all about the trial and events surrounding Bundy’s captures. There is more emphasis put on the impact of these events on his girlfriend. This shift in focus allows for heartier performances from the two leads, Zac Efron and Lily Collins.
Both Efron and Collins give good, solid performances. Collins can sometimes lean toward the melodramatic but she is convincing as the emotionally abused, naive Liz Kendall. It is Efron, however, that steals every scene he is in. Obviously he is the focus of the film but he deserves the credit. He is egotistical but charming, and he is incredibly delusional. Efron fully immersed himself in this role, and the result is a captivating performance that carries the film.
While the performances are good, the pacing doesn’t always work. Whereas The Deliberate Stranger did a thorough if not necessarily exciting job of laying out a detailed timeline of Bundy’s attacks, this film jumps around to try and hit certain “highlights,” so to speak. It plays more with style rather than paying detailed attention to accuracy. As such, it is an interesting experience in entertainment but not as any sort of historical commentary. The editing choices were also a bit odd at times. Again, I think this was a style choice that ended up making some things a bit hard to follow, if not pretty or interesting to look at.
One of the most disturbing aspects of the film are the reactions from people during Bundy’s trial, and his “celebrity” status. The film doesn’t shy away from casting Efron as Bundy in a good light but it also makes a point to contrast his charming personality with the violence of his behavior. Thus when his fans show up at the trial, they are not presented in a flattering manner.
Despite some pacing and editing issues, as a performance piece, and commentary on murder obsession culture, I thought the film was effective and insightful.
Finally sat down to watch this a few months ago and really enjoyed it. I can’t believe Kevin Costner and Woody Harrelson never worked together before. Their chemistry was great, and one of the best things about the film.
This, of course, tells the story of the two lawmen that eventually tracked down and killed Bonnie and Clyde. It follows both of them as they come out of retirement, and piece together when and how to catch the infamous duo.
The movie looked fantastic, which is almost a negative thing because I didn’t get a chance to see this in theaters. I know it had a limited release but I never saw any showings for it, and thus was stuck watching it on my TV at home. So, while it looked good, I bet it would have looked even better on a bigger screen. This is one of my frustrations with Netflix films.
The story was told in an intriguing fashion, with the messaging and deeper themes well established without beating you over the head. This film definitely has an opinion on the celebrity status of the two criminals, and I think there were a couple of effective moments that drive that point home. One choice made was that the reveal of Bonnie and Clyde only happens at the end of the film. By not showing them earlier, the message about destructive criminal celebrity is made more effective. The film aims to not glorify them the way history has. These two were killers, and many people try to make them out to be Robin Hood type characters when they weren’t. This film, rather than glorify their violent history turns the lens quite literally on their victims, and the viciousness of their crimes.
The film is rather long. It meanders frequently, and although I mentioned it looks great, we do get maybe one too many wide shots of open country. Sometimes the slow pacing allows for a a bit of character development and a good performance piece but it definitely could have chopped off fifteen to twenty minutes.
Overall, this was a solid film. It’s low on action, strong on story and performances. Under lesser performers the film would have felt dragged down due to the deliberate pacing. It is thanks to Harrelson and Costner, who are heavy weights more than capable of carrying this film, that it works as well as it does.
Decided to do the Over 30 Book Tag since I’m over 30.
I really wanted this to be great. I’d been anticipating it for years before it finally came to Netflix, and I’m a fan of Emile Hirsch, so I was excited to see him in something again.
The film starts with the discovery of a body in a house where there was obviously some sort of attack. As the police investigate the crime scene, they send the body of the unknown girl (now a Jane Doe) to the coroner for a full autopsy. Brian Cox and Emile Hirsch play a father-son duo who own this small family mortuary, and now are tasked with performing the operation just as a big storm is about to hit the town.
The setup is great. The vibe is creepy, we get locked into our main location quickly, and the chemistry between Cox and Hirsch feels genuine. The first third of the movie was actually pretty good. You get thrown into the story without too much exposition, which adds to the creep factor because you aren’t really sure what is going on. Then, about halfway into the film spooky things start happening and the film decides it needs to explain why. The rest of the film is an info dump of theory that doesn’t feel earned as there hasn’t been any evidence laid out to support it before the characters start jumping to conclusions about what it all means.
Unfortunately, what is a great setup for a film does not always result in a great execution. There were some effective visuals and some creepy scenes but sadly, the film falls flat in the second half. By the end you don’t remember what worked at the start of the film because you’re just left with a feeling that everything ties together a little too conveniently without really making any sense at all.
Starting a new podcast with my dad to catch up on all the television we have missed out on the years. First up is a reflection on Supernatural Season One.
00:20 – Introduction
02:00 – Personal Viewing History of Supernatural
05:00 – Top Five Episodes of the Season
27:17 – Best Use of Music Licensing
34:30 – Scariest Episode/Moment of the Season
39:15 – Biggest Growing Pain
45:54 – Most Promising Element of the Show
51:39 – Final Thoughts and ratings
Listen to the show here:
“Heavy Rock” by Scott Holmes
Catching up on the last few months of reading with a Spring Wrap Up. Check out what I’ve been reading in the video below.
With all the buzz around Netflix’s Ted Bundy Tapes and their acquisition of Extremely Wicked, Shockingly Evil, and Vile, I thought I’d check out the original interpretation of the infamous killer’s rampage. I went in search of the 1986 television film starring Mark Harmon, eventually finding it for about $17 on DVD on Amazon.
Now that it has been several months since I actually saw this, as well as the other Ted Bundy film, I guess I should get a review up. This is a two part television special series that originally aired over two consecutive nights on NBC, and covers Bundy’s attacks in the late 70s, as well as his capture and trials. It was released in 1986, three years before Bundy would be executed.
I’ll start off by saying I really like Mark Harmon as an actor. He always has a lot of charisma and usually he is playing a really likable character, so this was an interesting role for him. He still has the charm but he’s playing Ted Bundy, who of course is not a likable person. I wasn’t around when all of these events were taking place (I was born a year before his execution), so I don’t have a frame of reference for how well events in the film match up with real life ones. However, as I’m told, it is a fairly accurate representation.
This is a pretty straightforward telling of Bundy’s story. It hits all of the story points from the start of the investigation into the disappearances, to his attacks in Seattle, Utah, and Colorado, and finally his recapture in Florida and the subsequent trial. There isn’t anything really innovating in its approach but I think it is an effective film. Harmon is good in the role, and by trying to be as inclusive, and as detailed as possible with the number of attacks, the filmmakers successfully drive home the point of just how violent and vicious Bundy was.
Saw the latest MCU installment, so of course, I had to do a review. These are my thoughts on Spider-Man: Far From Home.
Catching up on all the movies I saw in May and June. Check out my thoughts on them in the video below.
Shaft Lookback Podcast: