Awesome performance by Zac Efron, but the movie plays like a visual retelling of the Wikipedia entry.
Extremely Wicked, Shockingly Evil and Vile Synopsis
The movie recounts the capture and downfall of Ted Bundy, one of America’s most notorious and horrific serial killers. Told from the perspective of Bundy’s long-time girlfriend, the events before and during the killer’s sensational 1979 trial are vividly brought to life.
Going by the snippets and trailer, and the subject matter, I thought I would rate this 4 or 5 stars. In the end, I find it difficult to give it anything beyond 3, and that’s because:
- Despite some degree of “creative rewriting,” the movie is remarkably faithful to the events before and during the ‘79 Miami trial. Problem though, it’s too obsessively faithful, to the extent it frequently feels as if the movie was made by an enthusiastic fanboy/fangirl out to relive the most outrageous moments of that trial. One leaves the movie with lots of trivia, but with little fresh insight or analysis.
- Zac delivers an absolutely phenomenal performance. You really just need to compare his clips with historical footage of Bundy to see how closely he captured the murderer’s deceptive charm. On the other hand, that’s about it. We keep seeing Zac’s Bundy being charismatic, here and there are some flashes of anger too. But there is not a glimpse of the real monster beneath. No hint at what Ted Bundy truly was.
Of course, one could address the above two points by saying, hey, this is a story based on the experiences and perspectives of Liz Kendall i.e. Elizabeth Kloepfer. Therefore, like everyone else, she didn’t know what really happened.
This is a reasonable defence, except, neither does the movie delve into Liz’s psyche. We see her being tormented by the relationship. We see her descend into alcoholism too. But beyond that, nothing, there is no further probing. The movie doesn’t even attempt to rationalize why she did the one thing that paved the way for Bundy’s downfall. Frankly, I found Liz almost forgotten in many chunks of the show. I struggle, honestly, to see how this is the Ted Bundy story from her unique perspective.