100 minutes | USA | 2021
Director: Amber Sealey
Editor: Patrick Nelson Barnes
Cinematographer: Karina Silva
Composer: Clarice Jensen
Producers: Daniel Noah, Lisa Whalen, Elijah Wood, Kim Sherman
Writer: Kit Lesser
Cast: Elijah Wood, Luke Kirby, Aleksa Palladino, Robert Patrick
“It’s irregular as hell, but yeah, it’s legal.”
The movie sets out to prove that Bill Hagmaier (Elijah Wood) is one of the greatest criminal profilers in the world. Unfortunately, from start to finish, the film has a hard time proving its thesis. Hagmaier volunteers to deal with the criminal Ted Bundy (Luke Kirby) since he isn’t willing to talk to the feds. Kirby does a fine job of portraying Bundy and even bears a slight resemblance. However, Bundy opens up to Hagmaier and I just wondered why the whole entire time. Joe Berlinger recently gave us our Bundy biopic: Extremely Wicked, Shockingly Evil and Vile in 2019. With Zac Efron in the title role and Berlinger primarily excelling at documentary filmmaking, I was nervous to check it out. However, Berlinger delivered.
Granted, this film is more about Hagmaier, but I didn’t get the same amount of intrigue or experience half as much tension from Amber Sealey’s movie. When the film cuts to several different pieces of footage, I think it’s meant to recall Nicolas Roeg’s style of filmmaking, but it turns out laughable. Also, Bill is supposed to be talking to his son later in the movie, and it’s a child’s muffled voice that even keeps talking through the parts when Bill is also talking. It was so bizarre.
It also doesn’t help that I recently happened to watch James Dobson’s final interview with Ted Bundy in 1989. Christian Clemenson portrays Dobson; if he looks anything like him, it’s closer to how he looks now than how he looked then. Clemenson’s voice is not even close to Dobson’s and it really took me out of the film. To be fair, Kirby does his best acting in this scene, as he imitates Bundy managing to avoid eye contact and recited word for word what Bundy had recounted in this interview. The whole time, Bill looks through a glass pane, raising his eyebrows in shock; somehow Elijah Wood managed to capture my face while watching this disaster of a movie. Hopefully, it’s the worst film I see at Tribeca Film Festival this year.
Bill’s father killed a rat with a baseball bat
Article was written by Allison McCulloch. Follow her Twitter.