The serial killer has been a part of the broad modern cinematic landscape since THE SILENCE OF THE LAMBS (1991) swept the board at the Oscars. Now it is not to say what came before was not registered or pertinent but the portrayal of Hannibal Lector in Demme’s film led to a repositioning of the murderer as a pop culture figure. This has led to series such as DEXTER, CRIMINAL MINDS, HANNIBAL and MINDHUNTER among many others, exploring and evaluating the serial killer in the age of mass commercialisation.

Director Amber Sealey’s NO MAN OF GOD sets out to update this narrative. Extracting the person behind the murders via conversations between FBI agent Bill Hagmaier (Elijah Wood) and serial killer Ted Bundy (Luke Kirby). Hagmaier is tasked with speaking to Bundy and maybe getting him to actually commit to being the monster, he denies that he is. Based on a true story, that saw the final weeks of Bundy life, prior to his death by electrocution, the two develop a complicated relationship over the humanity and horror of Bundy crimes. Now this sets up a testing environment for a viewer. Expectations are that we will relive via recreation, the murders and live through this, the events first hand. But this is not to be. Sealey speaks in detail in the second part of this piece, about her rationale for this decision.

The film itself is a testament to characters and feels sometimes like a theatre performance. Not a bad thing when you have two great actors in the frame. Wood and Kirkby dont spar, more then this, they stalk each other. One believes he is playing with his next victim. The other believes he is analysing evil personified. Both actors (and it is telling that director Sealey was an actor prior to directing) mediate on their personas intricately. You feel the ebbs and flows. Tensions are heightened. In particular, Kirkby never shifts too far away from that stalking. His body relaxed, yet ready to pounce. His eyes glinting with evil desire. Wood equals this with a progressive adaptation from casual, open student to weary but friendly examiner. The film is theirs and rightfully so.


The special edition ‘rigid’ set, has some extraordinary parts to endorse it. The title art cards are lush and make a film which has a series of single location come alive, so to speak. The extras are a little less exciting. The Wood interview is soft and hurried. I felt it should have had more time to breath and maybe some more pertinent questions. Palladino interview is more pronounced and more detailed on the direction and decisions made in the film but they should have approached Sealey to speak on her film surely.


Limited Edition Blu-ray contents:

– Interview with Elijah Wood

– Interview with Luke Kirby

– Interview with Aleksa Palladino

– Limited edition rigid-box packaging with brand-new commissioned art by Thomas Walker

– Limited edition artcards


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