20 Years Ago, An Unknown Jeremy Renner Dare To Play Gay Serial Killer Jeffrey Dahmer

Screenshot: ‘Dahmer,’ Peninsula Films

This week, Netflix launches its new limited series DAHMER – Monster: The Jeffrey DahmerThe latest project from super-creator Ryan Murphy, which stars his longtime collaborator Evan Peters in the titular role as the notorious gay serial killer.

Project announcement met with a mix of excitement—it does Star icon Nieci Nash, finally—and panic. Although, yes, the series centers Dahmer’s “underserved victims and their communities,” it still begs the question: How often should Hollywood re-examine and relive the story of this convicted murderer and cannibal?

Prior to Peters, the infamous role has been played by several actors, including Ross Lynch, in a disturbing “origin story”. my friend dahmer, But one of the earliest and most notable written illustrations of the killer was from 2002. dahmer From filmmaker David Jacobson, with Jeremy Renner in an early star turn.

early enough the Avengers or his Oscar-nominated role hurt Locker, the independent film represented a major success for Rainer, 31, at the time of its release. The dark, demanding feature was a major risk for the young actor, largely unnoticed at the time, but it’s one that certainly paid off considering his subsequent blockbuster career.

Screenshot: ‘Dahmer,’ Peninsula Films

Unsurprisingly given the subject, the 20-year-old film is a tough watch. dahmerThe big hook was that it offered a glimpse inside a madman’s mind, and Rainer’s performance admirably treads the line between making you fear for him and have sympathy for him—or, at the very least, it Understand what made him that way. The film was particularly inspired by statements made by Dahmer’s father, Lionel, who claimed that his son “killed those people because he was too afraid to lose them.”

Each scene is filled with fear and tension, especially when Dahmer brings a young gay man named Rodney (Artel Great) back to his place. Despite his shocking actions, Rainer never lets you forget that beneath the monster is a human, for better or worse.

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At the time, the film was largely reviewed by critics (it stands at 73%). rotten Tomatoes ) who appreciated Jacobson’s thoughtful approach to potentially terrifying material. Entertainment WeeklyOwen Gleberman commented that dahmer “Allows you to brush up against the humanity of a psycho, without making him less of a psycho.”

Screenshot: ‘Dahmer,’ Peninsula Films

But others felt the biopic was needlessly bleak and all-around pointless, like Seattle Times‘ Moira MacDonald who knocked it down as “a hellish, numbing experience” that “doesn’t offer any insight that hasn’t already been thoroughly debated in the media.”

Looking back, it’s hard to disagree with McDonald. Barely acknowledging the internality of a victim like Rodney, the film keeps its audience locked in Asphalt’s unforgivable perspective. And the scenes where Dahmer has a run-in with the police include only surface-level “I can’t believe he got away with this” shock value, from his privilege as a cis white man. Ignoring the inquiry which only allowed his killing spree to continue. Trouble justifying its existence, the film just plays like trauma porn.

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Murphy seems intent on correcting these mistakes in his own right. dahmer Netflix series (which counts Janet Mock and Color for Change’s Rashad Robinson among its producers), but re-watching the ’02 film only underscores that the depressing details of this true-crime story have already appeared before. – It has been told. One only needs to watch the trailers for both projects to see that they are recreating many similar scenes.

Dahmer gets pulled over by the police. (Left) ‘Dahmar,’ Peninsula Films | (Right) ‘Dahmer- Monster: The Jeffrey Dahmer Story,’ Netflix

If there’s a reason to watch dahmer In 2022, to see Rainer’s fascinating opening performance, which garnered an Independent Spirit Award nomination. They’ve spent the twenty years since switching back and forth between blockbusters (above avengersTwo Impossible Goal movies, and even failures the Bourne Legacy spin-off) and more serious minds prize away (city, American Hustle), proving that he is a capable, multi-faceted genius.

But, in many ways, the shadow of dahmer Still cruising on his career. There’s even the fact of those persistent rumors that Rainer is gay, which appears to have originated around the time he took on the role. Like the film itself, they are a product of their time, and Rainer has since dismissed them as “silly” and judgmental: “I don’t care, after all, if that’s what people want to think, read, and care about.” Huh.”

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Will Peters’ performance turn out to be a more thoughtful depiction of the systems that allowed a man to become a monster? Or Rainer’s job will be challenging, demanding dahmer Big impact on Murphy’s new limited series? we’ll find out soon DAHMER – Monster: The Jeffrey Dahmer Premieres September 21 on Netflix.

dahmer (2002) is now available to stream on Fubo.TV, The Roku Channel, Vudu, Tubi, Kanopy, and Crackle. It is also available to rent or stream through YouTube, iTunes and Google Play. You can watch the trailer below:

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