Saturday 28 January 2023

Movie Review: Extremely Wicked, Shockingly Evil and Vile (2019)

Genre: Biographical Crime Drama
Director: Joe Berlinger
Starring: Zac Efron, Lily Collins
Running Time: 108 minutes

Synopsis: In Seattle of 1969, college student and single mother Liz Kendall (Lily Collins) falls in love with the charismatic Ted Bundy (Zac Efron), an aspiring law student. They move in together and over the next few years Liz pays scant attention to news reports of women being brutally murdered. She is surprised when Ted is arrested in Utah and charged with aggravated kidnapping. He professes innocence and Liz wants to believe him, but murder charges follow in Colorado then Florida. Ted faces a series of trials and attempts several escapes, as Liz's confidence in the man she loves slowly erodes.

What Works Well: The adaptation of Kendall's book reveals just how blind love can be, and the ability of murderous psychopaths to hide in plain sight. Zac Efron blows past his lightweight screen persona to reveal a cogent dark side, and Lily Collins is steady as a woman struggling against looming truths that threaten to destroy all her conceptions. The 1970s are recreated with convincing brown-dominated wardrobes, hairstyles, and aesthetics.

What Does Not Work As Well: Bundy's victims are abstract afterthoughts (until a list in the credits), and director Joe Berlinger errs on the side of demonstrating a killer's magnetism at the expense of his brutality (expressed in the title, but barely present in the movie). The imbalance buttresses Liz's incredulity, but ignores half the story. In any event, as the film evolves into a courtroom farce with Ted defending himself, Liz fades into the background.

Conclusion: A quiet affirmation of disbelief, but narrative blindspots degrade the drama's impact.

All Ace Black Movie Blog reviews are here.

No comments:

Post a Comment

We welcome reader comments about this post.