“Extremely Wicked, Shockingly Evil and Vile” is a 2019 crime drama film directed by Joe Berlinger. The movie garnered significant attention for its portrayal of one of the most notorious serial killers in American history, Ted Bundy, and his tumultuous relationship with his longtime girlfriend, Elizabeth Kloepfer. Starring Zac Efron as Bundy and Lily Collins as Kloepfer, the film offers a unique perspective on Bundy’s life, focusing not only on his gruesome crimes but also on the psychological manipulation and charisma that allowed him to evade capture for so long. In this 1200-word article, we will delve into the film’s portrayal of Bundy, its impact on viewers, and the ethical considerations surrounding its production.
A New Perspective on Ted Bundy
“Extremely Wicked, Shockingly Evil and Vile” takes a different approach to telling the story of Ted Bundy. Rather than focusing solely on the gruesome details of his murders, the film explores Bundy’s life from the perspective of his girlfriend, Elizabeth Kloepfer. This approach humanizes Bundy in a way that has been both praised and criticized.
Zac Efron’s portrayal of Bundy is particularly noteworthy. Efron, known primarily for his roles in comedies and musicals, delivers a chilling and convincing performance as the charismatic and manipulative serial killer. His ability to capture Bundy’s charm and outwardly normal persona is a testament to his versatility as an actor.
A Complex Love Story
At its core, “Extremely Wicked, Shockingly Evil and Vile” is a love story – a twisted and disturbing one, but a love story nonetheless. The film explores the tumultuous relationship between Ted Bundy and Elizabeth Kloepfer, providing insight into the psychological toll Bundy’s actions took on her.
Lily Collins’ portrayal of Elizabeth Kloepfer is poignant and emotional. Her character grapples with the realization that the man she loves may be a cold-blooded killer. The film does not shy away from portraying the emotional turmoil that Kloepfer experiences as she grapples with the truth.
Ethical Concerns and Criticisms
The film’s decision to humanize Bundy has sparked a significant amount of controversy. Critics argue that by presenting Bundy as a charismatic and charming individual, the film may inadvertently glorify or romanticize him. This concern raises ethical questions about the responsibility of filmmakers when dealing with real-life criminals and their heinous acts.
Director Joe Berlinger, who also directed the Netflix documentary series “Conversations with a Killer: The Ted Bundy Tapes,” has defended his approach. He maintains that the film does not romanticize Bundy but instead offers a unique perspective on the events. However, the debate surrounding the film’s portrayal of Bundy continues.
Realism vs. Entertainment
“Extremely Wicked, Shockingly Evil and Vile” is, first and foremost, a work of entertainment. It is not a documentary, nor is it intended to be a historical account of Bundy’s life and crimes. The film takes creative liberties with the timeline of events and character interactions to create a more compelling narrative.
This blending of fact and fiction is common in biographical films, but it can be a source of frustration for those seeking a strictly factual account. Viewers should approach the film with an understanding that artistic license has been taken to craft a gripping story.
The Impact on Viewers
The film’s portrayal of Bundy has sparked conversations about the nature of evil, charisma, and the thin line between a charming exterior and a dark interior. It forces viewers to confront uncomfortable questions about how someone as outwardly charming and “normal” as Bundy could commit such heinous crimes.
In some cases, “Extremely Wicked, Shockingly Evil and Vile” has prompted viewers to delve deeper into the real-life story of Ted Bundy. The film can serve as a starting point for discussions about criminal psychology, the justice system, and the enduring fascination with true crime stories.
The Importance of Responsible Storytelling
The debate surrounding the film underscores the importance of responsible storytelling when it comes to real-life criminals and their actions. Filmmakers must navigate the delicate balance between creating engaging narratives and acknowledging the pain and suffering experienced by victims and their families.
In this regard, the film serves as a case study in the ethical considerations that arise when telling the stories of notorious criminals. It challenges viewers to reflect on the responsibility of filmmakers and the potential impact of their work on society’s perception of criminals and their victims.
“Extremely Wicked, Shockingly Evil and Vile” is a thought-provoking and controversial film that offers a fresh perspective on the life of Ted Bundy. By focusing on his relationship with Elizabeth Kloepfer and the emotional toll his crimes took on her, the film humanizes Bundy in a way that has sparked intense debate.
While some critics argue that the film may inadvertently romanticize Bundy, others appreciate the nuanced performances of Zac Efron and Lily Collins and the film’s ability to generate discussions about the nature of evil, manipulation, and the enduring fascination with true crime stories.
Ultimately, “Extremely Wicked, Shockingly Evil and Vile” serves as a reminder of the power of storytelling and the ethical responsibilities that come with depicting real-life crimes and criminals on the big screen. It challenges viewers to grapple with uncomfortable questions and encourages a deeper exploration of the complex and disturbing legacy of Ted Bundy.