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Ryan Murphy’s Netflix Series – The Hollywood Reporter

Received back from critics, perhaps so co-creator Ryan Murphy can preserve the viewing experience for audiences without access to Wikipedia, recent TV or recent sale history, of Netflix Dahmer – Monster: The Jeffrey Dahmer Story is an angry hodgepodge. (That was the last time I used that full stupid title, one of the things Netflix co should have enough power to stop.)

One can appreciate the performers in Dahmer – Especially Richard Jenkins and Niecy Nash; Evan Peters though is all too familiar in his turn – and respects that Murphy and co-creator Ian Brennan have tangible and meaningful things to say here, and feels that the 10-episode series is structured messy, never found a happy medium between discovery and expectation, and probably never would have existed if rumor had The Assassination of Gianni Versace: An American Crime Story was more popular.

Dahmer – Monster: The Jeffrey Dahmer Story

Key point

Chills but repetitive.

Release date: Wednesday, September 21 (Netflix)
Cast: Evan Peters, Richard Jenkins, Molly Ringwald, Michael Learned, Penelope Ann Miller, Niecy Nash
Creator: Ryan Murphy and Ian Brennan

It is not Versace is not a fan, but most critics, myself included, compare it negatively to the previous one, The People sues OJ Simpson: America’s Crime Story. Looking back over the years, I really appreciate the points that Murphy and writer Tom Rob Smith have achieved Versace, and the relative luxury of character study that the series’ reverse story allows. I’m sure that if we were all properly admiring the season, Murphy and company wouldn’t have felt the need to say, “Look, you didn’t get the final disjointed 10-hour interrogation My take on the intersection of murder and racing series, focuses on recovering the names and identities of the victims from the perpetrator’s notoriety – so I’ll try again with a firmer grip.”

As is the case in Assassination, Dahmer begins at the end, in 1991, when prolific serial killer, gangrene and cannibal Jeffrey Dahmer (Peters) picks up Tracy Edwards (Shaun J. Brown) at a gay bar in Milwaukee and bring him back to his dingy apartment, where everything is. is a warning sign: There’s a bloody drill, a tank full of dead fish, a stench, a mysterious blue shipping crate, and a playing VCR The Exorcist III. Tracy – history tampering alert – escapes and is quickly discovered by the police that Dahmer has, over the course of three decades, murdered and done horrible things with the bodies of 17 young men, mostly All are young people of color.

From there, we follow Jeffrey’s evolution from antisocial boy (a brilliant Josh Braaten) to dissecting teenager to serial killer, though never in chronological order. time, because everyone knows that chronology is for squares and Wikipedia. We witness his relationship with his attentive but distracted father (Jenkins’ Lionel), unstable and ill-treated mother (Penelope Ann Miller), barely-beloved stepmother sketch (Shari by Molly Ringwald), the church-going grandmother (Michael Learned’s Catherine), various victims, and the neighbor (Nash’s Glenda) who repeatedly called the police about the smell and continued to be ignored.

In five episodes, directed by Carl Franklin, Clement Virgo and Jennifer Lynch, Dahmer repeating the same loop over and over again through Jeffrey’s behavior, which I call “increasingly nightmarish”, except that once you tell the story in a semi-arbitrary order, you lose any Which character progression is implied by “increasing”. So it’s all just a nighttime but monotonous setback, in which Jeffrey drinks cheap beer, takes care of someone, masturbates inappropriately, and then does something terrible, albeit at least the series leaves us in suspense not knowing what terrible thing he is going to do. This tension develops through “Is he going to eat this victim?” or “Did he have sex with this victim?” disgusted audiences, an indictment of gawking viewers that I would have found more convincing if it hadn’t come from the creative team behind ten ten seasons of the show. American Horror Story and the network behind the feature-length documentaries about every serial killer imaginable.

Smarter observations began to emerge in the second half of the season, starting with the episode “Silence”. Written by David McMillan and Janet Mock and directed by Paris Barclay with more empathy than voyeurism, “Silenced” tells the story of Tony Hughes (the brilliant newcomer Rodney Burnford), perhaps the only victim whom the Jeffrey has traces of a real relationship with them. . This is easily the best episode of the series, an hour of uncomfortably sweet and sad TV that should probably be the template for the entire show. Tony is deaf and, in placing a deaf, black gay character at the center of the story, the series is giving voice to someone whose voice has too often been knocked off the leg. use serial killer.

It’s clear that Murphy and Brennan want that to be key Dahmerbut not like something like When they see ushas a similar message that turns “The Central Park Five” into individuals with names and personalities, Dahmer can do it with two or three non-Jeffrey characters. The second half of the series is supposed to be, but the show just couldn’t come out on its own. For example, there are nonsensical, lengthy, and manipulative aspects of Ed Gein and John Wayne Gacy that get more attention than at least 10 victims. It’s just cynical to the serial killer’s obsessions and undermining some of the series’ themes. I would add that focusing on things like that and alleviating pain for most victims and their families is closer to exploiting that pain than honoring any memory.

Or take “Cassandra,” the episode built around Nash’s Glenda (the actress simultaneously avoids the comic frameworks that made her a star and delivers two or three questionable lines that will make some audiences cheer). It’s a good episode because Nash is so good, but it can only get into Glenda’s head with the help of a side story involving Jesse Jackson (Nigel Gibbs), which outlines the themes the screenwriters Not sure about the previous setting.

That is the problem. I know why, on an intellectual level, Dahmer does much of what it’s doing. I just hope it believes in its own ability to do them.

The first half of the season was repetitive in part because it wanted to clarify the various points at which Dahmer could have been caught or had diverted his appetite. “All those red flags,” lamented Lionel Dahmer. True story! Can the true story be conveyed in two episodes instead of five? Why is there, especially in a series that wants to tell stories we don’t know yet, since those five volumes are the stories we all know. do you know, bolstered by Peters delivers a performance full of discomfort, deadly horror but, aside from “Silenced,” never surprising. After Peters won a well-deserved Emmy for escaping the eccentricity and influence of the Murphy Cinematic Universe in Mare of Easttownit returns the performance you expect Dahmereven though one has an inconsistent Midwestern accent.

The second half of the season aims to remedy the completely uncontroversial assessment that Dahmer can get away with his crimes because he’s a white man who mostly hunts tough men of color. economic hardship. The Milwaukee police, possibly the movie’s real villains, missed out on many opportunities to stop things because they didn’t care about the race and economic status of the missing people, not wanting to. has the sexual side of anyone involved and can’t be bothered to show support in the affected neighborhoods.

This is hardly contested as a fact in this case – besides, it is the EXACT subtext of most Versace – and I want to say that Dahmer makes the point pretty clear. Then in the last few episodes, with Jesse Jackson and the others, the show kept having people come out and say it. Overstated it once, shame on any audience that doesn’t understand it yet. Do it twice, shame on you for not trusting that object. Did it three times, embarrassing Netflix’s development executives for not saying, “Yeah, we’re fine. Go ahead. But again, Ryan Murphy loves to show off and tell (repeatedly), and in a world where too many storytellers forget to tell before completely, I guess we should be grateful?

Going through another editing process, there’s a clever interrogation of Jeffrey Dahmer’s crimes, who really affected and the consequences here. It is often lost or obscured. I hope that the dramatic choices and decisions to let the series promote itself will not cost Niecy Nash, Richard Jenkins, Rodney Burnford and the valid points of the show.

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