No Man Of God (2021)

Director: Amber Sealey

Running Time: 100 Minutes

Certification: 15

Starring: Elijah Wood, Luke Kirby, Robert Patrick, Aleksa Palladino, Christian Clemenson, Mac Brandt

Considering how many films have covered Ted Bundy, another potentially romanticizing the serial killer isn't a welcome idea. Centring on conversations between Bundy (Luke Kirby) and FBI Profiler Bill Hagmaier (Elijah Wood) in the murderer's final years, what director Amber Sealey delivers isn't what one expects initially.

Inspired by FBI transcripts, recordings, and Hagmaier's recollections, screenwriter Kit Lesser has no interest in glamorising serial killers and their crimes, instead focused on dismantling the myth of Bundy. One scene has Bundy refuting extraordinary claims about him, arguing that it doesn't take a certain mindset to kill or that telltale signs exist to spot a killer, as these lies are told to disguise the uncomfortable truth that anybody can do it. This is an accurate reflection of Bundy as there was nothing remarkable about him, he was merely somebody unwilling to admit their terrible acts.

In sending Bill, the FBI hopes something may slip through and lead to the closure for just one family, yet Bill's approach is to probe Bundy's mind to understand the psychology of serial killers. As their conversations span several years, a mutual understanding develops from Bill treating Ted like a human being, and their rapport sees them discussing items such as how their children perceive them. These talented performers offer a gripping back-and-forth between two men on opposing sides of the law, making for such strong scenes that the ones outside of interview rooms pale in comparison.

It's easy for a male-led story like this to forget about the women who aren't victims, yet Sealey utilises camerawork to showcase those on the sidelines. They may not speak, yet the women's faces say everything about Bundy and how any of them could've been his next victim. This small choice restores some agency to these women instead of overshadowing them for the big-named murderer.

As the execution date grows near, Bundy's crimes weigh more heavily as he realises there's no escape. Understanding the outcome won't change regardless, the point comes where Ted openly admits what he previously kept underlying and bares all in horrific detail. It's a powerful scene that's expertly conveyed, and once more emphasises how much of this films strengths centred around this engrossing two-hander.

No Man of God is available on Digital Download from 13th September, and on DVD and Special Edition Blu-Ray from 25th October