Story: Ted (Sharlto Copley) enjoys the serenity of living in a small cabin in a remote stretch of Montana, but he wasn’t drawn here for the scenic views. Instead Ted chose the isolated locale to escape what he perceived as the evils of the world, especially technological advances. He longs for a simpler time when there wasn’t such an emphasis on tech, as he feels it has been used to brainwash and control the masses, though of course, he eluded their campaign. As he survives in the woods, Ted documents what he sees and abhors the companies that have come to log or develop these remote lands, to the point he begins to sabotage equipment and as he slips into paranoia, he even tries to shoot down commercial flights, using his rifle. But Ted has bigger plans than sabotage and once he begins his reign of terror, it would take a massive manhunt to bring him to justice.
Entertainment Value: Inspired by the real life Unabomber story, Ted K brings his isolationist lifestyle to the screen in an unusual production. While most of the core narrative elements seem fairly close to the actual events, some sequences in Ted K seem wildly inaccurate or portray Ted in a soap opera style, over the top melodramatic fashion. Of course, I take no issue with this approach, as it adds so much camp and general b movie vibes, but if you’re looking for a straight ahead, psychological examination of the case, Ted K isn’t that kind of flick. The Unabomber shown here is almost feral, running around naked, firing small handguns at passenger planes, and fantasizing about a female companion, though he is shown to be quite paranoid and in general, a deadbeat. The more offbeat elements of Ted’s psyche are where the movie dials up the wackiness and even in some scenes that were quite serious, it comes off as a ham handed spectacle. Ted isn’t shown as some kind of derailed genius, but more of an antisocial loser who can’t handle the basics of existence. I had fun with Ted K though, as it was so ridiculous at times and delivers solid entertainment.
The wackiness I mentioned earlier can also be attributed in part to Sharlto Copley, who plays Ted in a broad, surreal, sometimes even comedic take. Copley rarely leans on subtle touches here, going over the top regularly and dialing some scenes into the stratosphere. This is especially evident in the hallucinations, where Ted wishes he was doing fun stuff with a woman, but instead is just dissociating in various situations. Copley roars these offbeat moments into action, going to nearly outlandish lengths at times to seem unhinged and off the rails. Which again, I didn’t mind because the script was wacky itself, so why not go for broke, right? While his performance isn’t going to rack up awards, he is fun to watch and in this case, that is worth a lot. The cast also includes Tahmus Rounds, Amber Rose Manson, Megan Folsom, and Drew Powell.