PLOT: When vice detective Bob Hightower finds his ex-wife murdered and daughter kidnapped by a satanic cult – Bob sets out to find his daughter, by any means necessary.
REVIEW: Any film that deals with the endangerment of children is going to be a tough watch. I don’t even have children and yet this film hit me hard in ways I wasn’t expecting. A satanic cult kidnapping a little girl to do awful things just turns my stomach even typing it out. And as such, there are going to be a lot of people that can’t handle God is a Bullet. And I can’t blame them. It’s tough subject matter that will leave you thinking about it for days after the credits roll. But that’s not to say that the film is without its flaws.
I love a good revenge story so I really felt for Nikolaj Coster-Waldau’s Detective Bob Hightower. His frustration at the botched police investigation is absolutely palpable. It’s easy to understand why he would go to the places that he does. Especially once you find out what has happened to past girls that the cult has kidnapped. It’s a ticking time bomb that leaves you anxious for her retrieval. Unfortunately, there are some aspects of his transformation that feel a little forced. The tattoos feel good in theory but it’s all very clearly new ink, which just further makes him look like an undercover cop. And most see through his disguise anyway, further making the tattoos feel pointless.
But at least the tattoos allowed us some time with one of the more interesting characters in the movie: The Ferryman. Played by Jamie Foxx, I could have spent an entire movie with this character. He was absolutely fascinating and lives a life that I feel needs to be cataloged. The makeup job for the spotted-alopecia that he has is remarkable and flawless. Then there’s Maika Monroe, who is acting her ass off here. There are times when it gets a little over the top, but I feel it’s appropriate for her junkie character. Her dynamic with Bob is both weird and intriguing.
One aspect that really didn’t work for me is the main cult leader, Cyrus. The man is unhinged but not very intimidating, so it’s hard to see why these people would follow him. Especially when he has a right-hand man like Ethan Suplee’s Gutter who is absolutely terrifying. You run into that man, and you wind up dead. If anything, I feel like Suplee should have been the leader as it would have made the dynamic of the cult make more sense. Another person that deserves a mention is Jonathan Tucker’s Errol Grey, who works with the cult but isn’t technically part of them. Seeing him quickly shift from hardass to sniveling toady is great.
Based on a book by Boston Teran, the narrative follows a bit of a wonky structure. There are scenes that feel a bit unnecessary but I’m sure that’s because they were from the book, and felt they needed to be adapted. Because of this, the movie is fairly long at 2 hours and 35 minutes. And it really lets you bask in those moments. The violence can be a bit of a mixed bag. When it hits, it hits hard and quickly. But they, unfortunately, enhance most of the violence with CGI blood. And while there are times that this is fine, there are others where it’s very distracting. Though I will say that there is an absolutely brutal jaw-hanging scene that is a real highlight.
I’m not going to lie, I can’t say I was expecting such a gritty film coming from the director of The Notebook yet here we are. The Nick Cassavetes-directed God is a Bullet feels like the spiritual cousin of Schumacher’s 8MM. It’s dark, uncomfortable, and not a film you’re going to want to watch multiple times. But the performances from Maika and Nikolaj make it a film you must see at least once.
God is a Bullet is IN THEATERS EVERYWHERE JUNE 23RD, 2023.
Originally published at https://www.joblo.com/god-is-a-bullet-review/