Director: David Jacobson
Stars: Jeremy Renner, Artel Kayaru, Bruce Davison
Everyone’s pretty familiar with the basic story of Jeffrey Dahmer, the Gay Public Relations Department nightmare who served two years of a 936-year sentence before a fellow inmate bashed him to death with a broom handle on November 28, 1994 (at 9.11 am, incidentally).
This film about him by David Jacobson is surprisingly sensitive and lateral. It’s an interesting approach but ultimately a mistake, as Dahmer’s story is macabre, and so when Jacobson underplays the gore he lobotomises the material. Though viewers are treated to a session or two of skull-drilling, the film drifts vaguely from one artistically staged scene to the next before finishing with a unsatisfying question mark.
Also, Jeremy Renner is a bit too spunky to play the nerdy, introverted Dahmer. It can be fun to spend time with a sexy maniac, but Renner’s swarthy charisma is at odds with the killer-geek aura of Dahmer. This miscasting undermines key curiosities of the Dahmer story - I’d happily go back with Renner to his place, but I wanted to see how the unappealing Dahmer tricked his tricks into coming home. Plain Henry Thomas may have been a better choice, and he would have carried weirdo screen memories from the pre-teen erotica of his performance as alien-besotted misfit Elliott in E.T the Extra Terrestrial.
Andrew Cunanan would have been 43 today (31 August, 2012). He was killed by swat squad at his Miami houseboat on 23 July, 1997 having been pursued by the FBI over a string of murders that culminated in the shooting of Gianni Versace just over a week prior.
Vanity Fair journalist Maureen Orth covered the case and collates her info in this interesting book, which covers Andrew’s adventures from when he used to try to impress his peers by taking clam chowder to school for lunch, right through his meth years and multiple changes of appearance, hustling gullible older gays all the way.