Now that the Blogathon is in full swing, I've finally culled together my thoughts on the film chosen for me, 2002's biopic, Dahmer.
I'll say this right off the bat. Dahmer isn't quite what you expect, in ways both good and bad. For one, I expected it to be a gorefest, but it's very tastefully done, with most of the gore happening off screen and only a few really grisly scenes for impact. That's not to say it's an easy film to watch, as Jeremy Renner's creepy, yet subtle performance of the infamous serial killer is fantastic. It's a shame the movie around him isn't up to snuff.
The plot focuses on Dahmer's past (leading up to his first murder) and present (stalking homosexuals at clubs and bringing them home to create uninhibited "sex slaves", something that the movie won't explain to you itself) and it's in the past that I find the movie at its best. Unfortunately, the sticking point is that if you don't research the story of Dahmer, you won't really get some of the things happening in the film. Renner gets some real meat to chew on when he's interacting with his family and his soon to be first victim. Sadly as the film goes on, I began to notice something very distracting: every other actor in this film is terrible. Whether it's Artel Great's caricature of a street wise homosexual African American or Bruce Davison's "Where am I?" portrayal of Dahmer's father, the acting is just laughably phoned in. I can't count the number of times a scene would really gain some momentum and then one of the other actors would open his mouth and ruin it.
Almost as middling as the acting is David Jacobson's directing which basically includes sitting the camera at the exact expected angle and deciding which color a scene should be. His choice to abruptly end the movie as Dahmer walks off into the mysterious forest with no purpose is so frustrating that it almost ruins any good intentions the film has. I have yet to see Down in the Valley, but I hope his directing isn't as middle of the road there. On a lighter note, at least I enjoyed the film's moody score which really evoked a great mood. It really is a shame that Renner and the score aren't in a better movie.
Other Blogathon posts:
More coming soon...