Visually this film is stunning! Director David Jacobson did one hell of a job directing this film, and with Jeremy Renner playing Jeffrey Dahmer, you have sheer perfection. Jeremy Renner is one of my all time favourite actors and easily one of the best working in the industry today. I've been in love with him since 1995 when I first saw him in National Lampoon's Senior Trip....a completely ridiculous movie but one that made it impossible for it not to be love at first sight the moment I saw him. It wasn't until Dahmer though I believe he truly hit his stride.
With the story of Jeffrey Dahmer, Jacobson could have went down the route of providing a gross-out fest, focusing on Dahmer's experimentation with cannibalism where he ate the thigh of one of his victims. He could have went more down the line of The Secret Life of Jeffrey Dahmer, released in 1992, a film that focused on as many grizzly features as possible and was basically made to shock. And it did shock...in the fact that it was so bloody awful! David Jacobson's Dahmer however focuses on the mind of Jeffrey Dahmer, an incredibly tortured and broken soul. The tag line for the movie is one of my all time favourite quotes - "The Mind is a Place of its Own." Such a truer statement I've never heard. We all have our own personal demons and struggles and what David Jacobson did with Dahmer was show how much like the rest of us he actually was. And that's what makes this movie all the more horrifying. I think it was a huge risk on Jacobson's part because let's face it....showing to the world how we could relate to parts of one of the most notorious serial killers of all time...it's not the kind of thing that many like to consider.
Personally I can relate to the loneliness that Dahmer felt, that feeling of wanting someone to stay with you forever, and the fear of them leaving and what you would do to keep them. The film also deals with that feeling of not being able to talk to family, and to having little friends. I am in no way condoning the things that Dahmer did, but neither do I condone the sentence he was given by the city of Milwaukee and the state of Wisconsin. He tried to create a zombie so they wouldn't leave him....I'm sorry but in no way, shape, or form does that represent a sane person. And leaving him alone in prison, being as vulnerable as he was, that was a set up. No doubt about it.
The structure of the movie was done where we see parts of Jeff's life in a three part time line. We have Jeff in the present day (which would have been 1991) and then during the few years prior when he was drugging and raping men in the bath houses...although for the movie it has been changed to a gay bar. The third part of the timeline, and most definitely my favourite, it is set in 1978 when Dahmer was 18 years old and killed his first victim Steven Hicks...renamed for the film as Lance Bell. It was in this part that we saw Jeff in his desperate attempt to have someone never leave him. The film ends after Jeff has killed Lance and despite his Dad's attempt to get him to see a psychiatrist for his drinking problem, he walks away. The scene in which Jeff is walking through the forest to one of the most beautiful songs I have ever heard, Blue Theme by Siren Music Productions. Three wonderfully talented women who create the most gorgeous and haunting music and did the whole score for the movie.