Filmed on the same land where the Unabomber once lived, Ted K draws viewers into the psyche of a haunting figure in America’s history.
Screened as part of NZIFF 2021
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“Tony Stone’s Ted K is an eerily plausible and unsettlingly mesmeric realisation of the inner world of Ted Kaczynski: that is, the private life of the “Unabomber”, America’s most notorious domestic terrorist who, working largely from his primitive cabin in the Montana wilderness, killed three people and injured 22 more in a mail-bombing campaign lasting from 1978 to 1995... The South African actor Sharlto Copley plays Ted: a fierce, gaunt, angry man, whose sharp and rather distinguished features are mostly blurred by a straggly beard. He is a former brilliant mathematician and college professor who turned away from academia in favour of a radical hermit existence...
Copley and Stone show how Kaczynski is driven by hate and revenge. He spends some of his time in creepy serial-killer home-invader mode, breaking into the luxury cabin of vacationers who wreck the environment with their noisy snowmobiles, on a mission to destroy these devilish means of transport with his axe. But Kaczynski has no desire for face-to-face violence. He just has a monkish vocation for building bombs (as a scientist, he would have had the brainpower for the job, and if he used that notorious instruction manual, The Anarchist’s Cookbook, it isn’t mentioned here.) The movie spends long stretches of time alongside Kaczynski [as] he roams the forests of his mind, or haunts the desolate roadways and back-alleys, smugly awaiting a detonation... It is a riveting, dreamlike evocation of this man’s tortured, unhappy life, whose transient successes bring him no pleasure of any kind.” — Peter Bradshaw, The Guardian