Director Tony Stone digs into the depths of the mind of the infamous American Unabomber Ted Kaczynski with Ted K. A fly on the wall look at what made such a brilliant mind embark on a hermit lifestyle and a 17-year campaign of mail bombing terror which killed three people and injured many more.
By no means does Stone glorify this man’s heinous crimes but you can’t help but feel some kind of empathy with the man, who today could well be seen as some kind of eco-terrorist with a sensitive aversion to the slightest loud noise. Filled with hate for those who embark on destroying the forests around him and the waters he fishes in, and the snowboarders causing a raucous on his land fuels Ted (Sharlto Copley) in his righteous campaign of revenge.
Once a college professor and mathematician, Ted upended his life to get away from the rat race to live a solitary life, in the woods, in his tiny little cabin. This scruffy articulate man, in dreamlike sequences, spends his days fishing, ploughing his land, imaging he lives an idyllic life with the woman of his dreams at his side. That is until some kind of loud noise, be it from passing planes overhead or youngsters on motocross bikes snaps him out of his daze. Although not one for face to face confrontation, his anger builds when having to deal with others and he sets his revenge plan in numbers and making the perfect bombs for his targets.
Stone encapsulates Ted’s madness in long and drawn out sequences and maniacal use of classical music, equally fascinating to watch, due to Copley’s immersive performance, but at times a tedious bore. The use of other characters brings this picture back to reality with telephone conversations with his mother and estranged brother. Blaming his mother for his lack of experience with women, only ever having hit second base and accusing his brother of being jealous of him but then demanding they both send him money. From time to time he takes on jobs to earn a few bucks, only to turn on the Female manager, hurl some sexist abuse, and finds himself fired.
Unlike the Netflix series Manhunt which focuses on the FBI agent who took Kaczynski down, Stone’s offering flips the switch with a more sedate, haunting and surreal examination of an evil genius with an eco-conscious.