“God Is a Bullet” delivers a hammering blow to the senses, leaving no room for subtlety. This gritty fusion of road movie and action thriller relentlessly shakes the moral core of its protagonist, Bob Hightower, played by the talented Nikolaj Coster-Waldau. The film starts with a jarring sequence where a girl is kidnapped by a group of Satanists, setting the stage for a grim and shocking journey.
Director Nick Cassavetes attempts to blend crushing realism with a distinctive formalism, but the tones often clash uncomfortably. The movie’s attempts to highlight authenticity through makeup and tattoos end up feeling forced and distracting. There’s a conscious effort to remind the audience that they are watching a movie, with explicit photography and stylistic choices that break the naturalistic flow.
The potential for exploring religious faith in an unforgiving world is there, but the film’s pacing suffers from a bloated script and unnecessary subplots. The violence against women, while perhaps meant to reflect the harsh landscape, becomes gratuitous at times, further exacerbated by Cassavetes’ artsy approach. The final confrontation between Bob, Case (played remarkably by Maika Monroe), and Cyrus loses itself in brutalism, masking itself as elevated style.
Maika Monroe’s standout performance as Case shines amidst the cast. She displays a remarkable range, transitioning from a sheltered housewife to a fierce and deadly alpha woman. However, even her compelling portrayal can’t salvage the film’s groan-inducing bid for normalcy in the end, leaving viewers wanting more substance than what Cassavetes offers.
In conclusion, “God Is a Bullet” hits hard with its unapologetic intensity, but it lacks the finesse to fully explore its themes. Despite some commendable performances, the movie’s heavy-handed approach and unsatisfying conclusion ultimately fall short of divine grace. If God is indeed a bullet, we can only hope it arrives swiftly to end this cinematic journey.