Dahmer

A low-key but hypnotic portrait of the infamous sex murderer and admitted cannibal Jeffrey Dahmer, who was convicted in 1992 of killing 16 men and was beaten to death two years later by a prison inmate. Inspired by Lionel Dahmer's 1994 book A Father's Story, writer-director David Jacobson has created a serial-killer film unlike any I've seen before: there's no handy childhood trauma, no neighbors hearing screams or smelling rot, no detectives piecing together the awful truth. The film's studied lack of suspense mirrors Jeffrey Dahmer's life as he drifts through a featureless Milwaukee, picking up young men to be drugged, strangled, and dismembered. Each eruption of violence is signaled by the throbbing, thunderous sound of preternatural breathing, yet Jacobson never dwells on the gore, focusing instead on Dahmer's dull eyes and awkward gait. Jeremy Renner gives an understated performance as the title character, a pathetic loner longing for partners who would never leave his side. 100 min.

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