No Man of God
Director: Amber Sealey
Starring: Elijah Wood, Luke Kirby, Aleksa Palladino, Robert Patrick
The morbid curiosity that surrounds true crime and serial killers continues to grow and interest in Ted Bundy has been a large part of this. Bundy, the killer who committed 30 homicides between 1974-1978, has long held the attention of the public due to his perceived charisma, charm, and confidence - none of that changes the fact that he is truly evil and an awful human - and 2017’s Extremely Wicked, Shockingly Evil and Vile was criticized by some for attempting to garner sympathy for Bundy so going into No Man of God, I was wary that this too could potentially glamorize or romanticize Bundy. Gladly, Amber Sealey sidesteps such problems with a confident and very decent approach.
Instead, No Man of God focuses more on the state of mind of Bundy (played chillingly well by Kirby) as FBI profiler Bill Hagmaier (Wood) attempts to understand the mind and motives of Bundy. At times, the movie feels more like a stage play as the two men sit opposite each other and, well, talk and the screenplay of Kit Lesser ensures proceedings remain engaging throughout alongside Sealey’s silent use of women to underpin the emotional and tragic side of the events. Though Bundy’s heinous crimes are well-documented at this point, No Man of God carries a constant intrigue with Hagmaeir calmly attempting to have Bundy confess to his crimes whilst, at the same time, Bundy is sowing the seeds into Hagmaier’s mind that, really, they’re not all that different behind the eyes. Kirby and Wood deliver authentic performances on top of natural chemistry with each other.
What No Man of God doesn’t do particularly effectively is offer anything of real originality or surprise. There were a few aspects shown in the movie that perhaps warranted greater attention and where the movie ends up was inevitable - though that final sequence between Bundy and Hagmaier is superb - however, Sealey opted for authenticity and that’s exactly what the movie delivers.
Alongside the many movies/documentaries/podcasts/insert medium here that have focused on Ted Bundy, No Man of God stands amongst the best of them simply for being understated in its approach whilst weaving in the lives of the female victims excellently to ensure the real victims of Bundy’s disgusting acts are never forgotten or overlooked. Engrossing, intelligent, and, at times, intense, No Man of God is a high-quality examination of true evil.
June 16th 2021