5 January 2003 | veemoffa
Brutal movie about a brutal man
This movie is not for the faint-of-heart; it's a story about a vicious serial killer, and does not pretty up the subject matter. Thus there are numerous scenes of bloody and perverse sex, dead bodies galore, lots of profanity, and an overall atmosphere of sickness. None of this is pleasant to watch, but is entirely appropriate for the subject matter.
The script stays close to fact, although it leaves out some important information; neglecting, for example, to mention that one woman Bundy approached at Lake Sammamish refused to follow him into the parking lot. Her evidence provided a description and a name to a previously faceless monster, the first real lead the police had in the case. The movie also fails to give any real sense of the era in which Bundy flourished. In the swinging seventies, it was not so uncommon for women to get into cars or otherwise accept approaches from total strangers -- one reason for Bundy's success.
This film suffers from a lack of focus and purpose. It does give a good sense of the progression of Bundy's hideous career: the burglarizing, purse-snatching, shoplifting peeping tom gradually deteriorates into the brutal, raping, murdering serial killer. We see his alcoholism, his ability to be totally charming when necessary, and his knack for attracting "enabling" girlfriends into his life. What we don't see is anything of the inner Bundy. Granted, any depiction of the "inner Bundy" would be pure speculation, but a good movie would at least make an attempt to give some motive for Bundy's violent compulsions. All this movie does is make some vague references to his illegitimacy.
I need to also mention the incredibly poor taste in background music. In some sequences, light-hearted music is playing while Bundy is committing heinous acts of violence. (Christmas music in one case!) Perhaps the director meant to indicate that all this horror was just plain fun to Bundy; but the effect is to cheapen the scenes and even make them comic.
The verdict: Iffy. Lacks depth, and occasionly shows poor taste. Leaves out important information. On the plus side, it is well-acted, and does not attempt to sugar coat the ugly facts of violence. If you want a thoughtful examination of Bundy's character and the era in which he lived, this is not the right movie.