peteg's blog - noise - movies - 2022 02 23 TedK

Ted K

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And yet more proof that I'll watch Sharlto Copley do almost anything. Despite his efforts this pseudo biopic of Unabomber Ted Kaczynski is lifeless. It could've been Into the Wild, a visceral exploration of neo-luddism, but the threadbare psychologizing precludes any substantial investigation of the motivations for his domestic terrorism. (Given how disconnected he is from the rest of humanity I didn't get much sense of why he bothered.) Similarly his intellect is trivialised, and it hard to believe he really did pine for a woman.

The quotes from Kaczynski's manifesto sounded like an intriguing diagnosis for the ills of modern society but it's hard to know if that's a swamp worth wading into. The central contention is that the capture of humanity by systems and technology is inevitable, self-reinforcing and deleterious to anything one might hold dear. It struck me as being in the vein of Thoreau. Janet Maslin quotes a book about all this: "The manifesto is neither brilliant nor a symptom of mental illness. It is a compendium of philosophical and environmental clichés that expresses concerns shared by millions of Americans." And so forth. Wikipedia points to its impacts.

Beatrice Loayza at the New York Times: "The script's emphasis on Kaczynski's relentless bachelorhood and his feelings of castration is too neat an explanation. More convincing is the film's expressionistic fixation on the technologies that torment Kaczynski — the ugly roar of dirt bikes, snowmobiles and tree-razing bulldozers. In one remarkable dream sequence, we see Kaczynski seemingly shooting through the space-time continuum, looking small and terrified and like the kind of man who would kill to feel a sense of control." You can only imagine how Montana-native David Lynch would've cooked this one. He might've made something of those big cats.