Extremely Wicked, Shockingly Evil and Vile Review

The Ted Bundy story is a horrifying and disturbing one. I have listened through a lot of crime podcasts about the story, and the fast someone so charming was capable of the crimes he performed is borderline unthinkable. This film, with Zac Efron in the role of Bundy, goes through the events of his crime spree and the events that led to his eventually conviction. I wasn’t sure what to expect, but I figured it would play out like a normal crime drama. 

The film took a different path to the one I expected. Coming from the director of the Ted Bundy tapes on Netflix, I figured it would go relatively straight through the events. However director Joe Berlinger decided to show us a different angle for the first act of the film, deciding to show Bundy as a handsome, charming man who falls in love with a woman called Elizabeth.

This choice I found very odd at first. Knowing so much about the story I felt it to be painting a horrific man in a positive way. As the movie went on, I realised the reason behind showing this side of him is to show the audience that Ted Bundy seemed like a very unlikely suspect. Zac Efron’s charismatic performance is perfect for this part of the film. He oozes confidence of a man who knows he is attractive, and knows how to use it.

I can imagine if you did not know the story going in, it may add an element of “Did he, didn’t he” to the film. In the real world, there is not any doubt about whether Bundy committed the crimes. At times the film makes you question if he is a potentially innocent man, which had the effect of making me feel very uncomfortable. By the finale, we are given the answers but the journey there makes for some really interesting moments.

Zac Efron is excellent, but his equal in the film for me is Lily Collins as Elizabeth. There is a scene towards the end where you can see her character beginning to buckle under the weight of what’s happened, and she carries it perfectly before the pay off in that scene. Her back and forth with Efron in that moment makes it one of my favourite dramatic scenes so far this year. The rest of the cast are solid, but the focus is very clearly on Efron and Collins, with only Kara Scodelario being given a moment to shine. She plays Carol Anne Boone, the woman who refused to believe Bundy was guilty and mothering his child while he was on death row. Proving just how charming of a man the murderer was.

Extremely Wicked, Shockingly Evil and Vile is a movie I wish I had watched before I knew about the Bundy case. I can imagine the shocking revelations in the third act would have real impact on someone without the prior knowledge. As it is, I found it to be a very interesting way to tell this story, and I was captivated throughout, but mainly because of the angle the story was being told from. At no point did I really get a feeling that he was a really evil man, and that makes me a feel a little uncomfortable. At times it almost seems to be sympathetic towards Bundy, and that made me feel quite uncomfortable with it.

Good: Great performances and a really captivating subject with a different take on the story.

Bad: Left me feeling very uncomfortable with the way it portrays Ted Bundy, as I don’t think there is room for any sympathy for the man, and that leads to a confused tone.

7/10 – Ted Bundy was a horrific person, This depicts him a little too nicely. 

 

The Greatest Showman Review

The Greatest Showman stars Hugh Jackman among a few other recognisable names and is based around the rise of legendary entrepreneur P T Barnum. I love Hugh Jackman (albeit mainly as wolverine) and was curious to see him in a different role to what I’m used to, so I went into the final movie I am seeing that was released in 2017 quite optimistic.

What should be stressed is that The Greatest Showman is not a biopic. Anyone going into this film expecting a faithful telling of P T Barnum’s life is going to be disappointed. I don’t know much about the man himself so for me I just wanted an entertaining film with some good songs like the trailers promised.

In terms of the music, the movie certainly delivers. The songs from start to finish are catchy and upbeat, giving a real feel good factor during the singing and dancing scenes. These scenes, whilst entertaining on the whole, don’t feel like the characters are signing them in the actual scenes. It isn’t the case in every scene but in a few songs it felt a little like a music video rather than a musical. This is the only complaint I have regarding the music in The Greatest Showman. Whether its Hugh Jackman, Zac Efron or any other character leading the way, they got my foot tapping throughout the film.

Hugh Jackman’s charisma is the driving force behind the film and the producers and director must be very glad they got such a talented actor take on the role and bring it to life. Michelle Williams, Zac Efron and Zendaya are the main supporting cast and each of them give decent enough performances, but never threaten to steal the film from Jackman.

That films main story is a pretty standard rags to riches story just wrapped in a 1800’s aesthetic. This basic plot does just serve as a vehicle to get to the next song, and there’s at least one song where the song doesn’t quite match the tone of the particular moment we are in. I get the feeling from other reviews from people who may know more about P T Barnum, and from what I gather there is a much more complicated and interesting story to be told by a film based on him. What The Greatest Showman delivers is a generic fun musical without the depth that some might have hoped for from the source material. The musical numbers justify going to see the film, but don’t go expecting much beyond that.

The Good : Musical fans will undoubtedly get a kick from the musical elements of The Greatest Showman, and Jackman is so magnetic on-screen he will satisfy any fans of his.

The Bad : Generic plot and the more emotional moments not really hitting let the film down. Also some of the worst CGI in recent memory, like full on Playstation 2 graphics on show.

6.5/10 – The slightly above average show!