Another review from the world of dark cinema.
With each review, I am also sharing minimalist movie posters I have created for every film after watching it. (More on my film poster project at large, here. )
FILM :: DAHMER
YEAR :: 2002
DIRECTOR :: David Jacobson
The real-life terrors of Jeffrey Dahmer’s bizarre, cannibalistic psycho-sexual murders are almost too horrific to comprehend. We have all heard so much about the gore involved in the case that it would be tempting to go “Hostel” with a film like this.
Director David Jacobson makes a different choice. He eschews the “severed head in the icebox” styled tale for something more psychological. It makes the film more of a mood piece in an interesting way. We see Dahmer working up to his first kill, intercut with encounters with specific victims. The non-linear storytelling adds interest while the intimacy in the encounters, juxtaposed with Dahmer’s psychopathic detachment brings tension and drama.
The real star of the show here is Jeremy Renner in the title role. His Dahmer provides some real creeps through subtlety and nuance. VERY well acted. No caricature here, just true acting talent portraying the terrible manipulations of the psychotic mind. It’s a tough role to embody, but Renner does so with realism and pathology. Artel Great and Dion Basco play a duo of the killer’s intended victims with real emotion and empathy. The rest of the cast is quite solid as well.
The beef I have is that the film stops a bit short. Though I applaud Jacobson’s desire to create something that focused on more than the gore in this story, it does leave the viewer feeling a little unfulfilled. The film would have benefitted from a GLIMPSE, just a glimpse, of how far Dahmer went eventually when his psychotic fantasies became reality.
In all, a very well-acted psycho drama about one of the darkest real-life examples of a human predator with very solid cinematography. For those interested in serial killers or true crime psychodrama, this is definitely something to catch. Renner fans should NOT miss this one, either.
RATING ………………. 3.5 STARS