God is a Bullet

Nick Cassavetes’ first directorial effort in a decade is a dark and violent revenge thriller than just seems to be going through the motions.

God is a Bullet

Release Date: July 11, 2023
Runtime: 02:00
Taking matters into his own hands, Detective Bob Hightower tries to infiltrate an evil cult to save his kidnapped daughter and avenge the murder of his wife.

An escaped cult member helps a police officer locate his kidnapped daughter in . One Christmas, desk jockey police officer Bob Hightower () is distraught to discover his ex-wife murdered and his teenage daughter Gabi (Chloe Guy) kidnapped by a Satanic cult led by the sadistic Cyrus (). Bob is offered assistance in locating his daughter by Case Hardin (), a recently escaped member of the cult, who has traumatic memories of the time she herself was kidnapped as a child. With the help of The Ferryman (), Bob and Case acquire the weapons (and tattoos) required to infiltrate the cult and find the location of Gabi.

God is a Bullet Synopsis

God is a Bullet is an action-thriller written and directed by (Alpha Dog), based on the 1999 novel of the same name by Boston Teran, which in turn is loosely based on a true story. The film stars Maika Monroe (It Follows, The Guest, Independence Day: Resurgence) and Nikolaj Coster-Waldau (Game of Thrones) as an escaped cult member and the police officer she decides to help out. Monroe's Case Hardin leads Coster-Waldau's Bob Hightower into the dark underworld of the heavily tattooed Satanic cult, members of whom include Gutter (), Errol Grey (Jonathan Tucker), Lena (Virginia Cassavetes), and their very sadistic leader Cyrus. Despite coming from a heavily Christian community, Bob will have to bring out the darkness within himself if ever expects to see his daughter Gabi.

My Thoughts on God is a Bullet

I should begin by emphasizing that this review is based on a trimmed two-hour cut of God is a Bullet, as opposed to the longer 2h36m version that is available on some platforms. It can be hard to argue that Nick Cassavetes' career isn't one that hasn't been at least partially built upon nepotism, as the son of acclaimed actor and filmmaker John Cassavetes and actress Gena Rowlands. As a director, Nick Cassavetes did make a mark in the mid-2000s with the 2004 romantic drama The Notebook and the 2006 crime thriller Alpha Dog, but he hasn't directed anything of note since.

God is a Bullet is Nick Cassavetes' first directorial effort since the 2014 romantic comedy The Other Woman and the film can almost be described as a darker and more violent version of 2008's Taken, except without a lead as charismatic as Liam Neeson. This is not meant as a slight against Nikolaj Coster-Waldau, though his performance as Bob Hightower definitely has him being much more grizzled than his most recognizable role as Jaime Lannister on Game of Thrones. Then there's Maika Monroe, who was undoubtedly a rising star a decade ago but has seen her star power someone diminish after 2016's Independence Day: Resurgence underperformed at the box office.

The film establishes the Satanic cult that kidnapped Bob Hightower's 14-year-old daughter Gabi as a very heavily tattooed version of the Manson Family. Gabi's mother and stepfather aren't even introduced in the film as proper characters before they are violently killed as part of a Christmas Eve attack on their home. When being consulted about the crime, Case recognizes the m.o. of the cult she just escaped from and she decides to help Bob get Gabi back, even if it will endanger he own wellbeing.

God is a Bullet is a revenge film that just seems to be going through the motions, building up to an underwhelming final shootout and way too many epilogues. The film also develops a romantic connection between Bob and Case, which is a bit icky to watch, given the 34-year-old age difference between Nikolaj Coster-Waldau and Maika Monroe. In addition, other than his role as an Executive Producer credit on the film, I am left to question why Jamie Foxx shows up for only three scenes as a vitiligo-afflicted associate of the cult, who provides some assistance to Bob and Case.

In the end, I wouldn't say that God is a Bullet is a horrible crime thriller, but it is not one that I would particularly recommend. That said, I am curious how the longer cut differentiates, though I read that it includes unneeded subplots that just end up making the film even more of a slog.

Trailer for God is a Bullet

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Sean Patrick Kelly
Sean Patrick Kelly
Sean Patrick Kelly is a freelance film critic and blogger based in Toronto, Ontario, Canada.