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Category:    Home > Reviews > Drama > Biopic > Character Study > Comedy > Media > Religion > Politics > Serial Killer > History > Eyes Of Tammy Faye (20th Century/Disney)/No Man Of God (RLJ/both 2021 Blu-rays)

Eyes Of Tammy Faye (20th Century/Disney)/No Man Of God (RLJ/both 2021 Blu-rays)

Picture: B/B- Sound: B Extras: C+ Films: B/B-

In time for awards season, two films about the American Nightmare and some of those who actually survive it...

Michael Showalter's The Eyes Of Tammy Faye (2021) is a dramatic film that shares its title with a documentary of the same name (whose producers co-produced this film) that expands what the documentary so well covered and is one of the best films of the year with Jessica Chastain in a tour de force performance playing the real life woman of the title from her late school years until it all ended. A major character study worthy of the best 1970s films, raising this above a mere biopic, it is stunning work from an actress who already has proven to be one of the most underrated and best around.

Joining her as husband Jim Bakker is Andrew Garfield, who also goes all out transforming himself into the man who helped her get to where they got and all the ins and outs of that. Underrated and underestimated himself, his work here is stunning and a great match for Chastain, a duo with extremely convincing chemistry and he is as award-worthy as her.

Then the script is excellent, directing smooth, periods captured perfectly, history pretty accurate and some moments are dead on darkly funny and even bold, though I cannot get into that without ruining the film. Vincent D'Onofrio is also amazing as Jerry Falwell, putting more blame on him as a bad person and de facto political force than Milos Forman's The People Vs. Larry Flint did, also addressing more on how the Religious Right got so explicitly involved with the Republican Party.

Though The Bakkers lived a rich life at one point and for a good while, the gaudiness turned out to be a gilded cage for all involved and left them vulnerable (though much of it was their faults, especially his) to people who pretended to be their friends, but turned on them (as expected by those who knew better) and that is just the beginning of the true story this film tells so well.

Yes, some of this might be 'a little goes a long way' for some and others familiar with the story (with or without the documentary) that it might not impress them as well. However, the script manages to add little items even to that to do more with it all, so everyone should give this one at least one good look, especially since it should be one of the top awards season films.

The only extra is the A Look Inside... featurette, but it is a half-hour long and very well done. You can also read about the documentary on the subject in our review at this link:


Amber Sealey's No Man Of God (2021) comes from the same era with some of the same media, but in this case, it is about the true story of the final days of infamous serial killer Ted Bundy in jail on death row for what still remains some of the most horrific crimes ever committed. A new FBI agent (Elijah Wood, a star who is always an underrated actor) decides to try taking on a job everyone around him thinks is useless: get Bundy (Luke Kirby, solid in a thankless role) to talk.

The killer refuses to talk to any feds, but Bill Hagmaier (Wood) thinks he might be able to get something done with a new approach and angle in what became the earliest version of profiling. Of course, we all know this from the best fiction and documentaries on the subject, but it was very, very new territory then and the script (based on actual documentation) shows how influential and imitated his work became. Now everyone knows it.

Usually, a film like this can be talky, repetitive and poor, but despite some flaws and limits in the set-up and the fact that we have seen some of this dozens of times before, the acting here brings it to a different area and the directing is better than you'd expect. It may not be remembered at awards time (partly due to its subject matter,) but it is actually one of the year's better films and worth a look for all interested.

A Behind The Scenes featurette is the only extra.

The 1080p 1.85 X 1 digital High Definition image on Tammy is a good looking shoot with subtle differences throughout to mark various eras of time, never afraid to push color and impresses well enough.

The 1080p 2.35 X 1 digital High Definition image transfer on Man has some soft stylizing and more than a little archive footage from the period, usually analog video, so expect some limitations in playback, but it is consistent and looks fine otherwise.

Both discs offer DTS-HD MA (Master Audio) 5.1 lossless mixes that are well recorded, edited and mixed, but Tammy has the more active soundfield, while Man does a great job of delivering its dialogue-based script.

- Nicholas Sheffo


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