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Entries in My Friend Dahmer [2017] (1)


My Friend Dahmer (2017)

Three-quarters of the way through My Friend Dahmer, I made the mistake of pressing "Pause" and looking up crime scene photos of the titular serial killer's apartment/meat locker. The images are horrific but darkly compelling, like Francis Bacon paintings realized as sculpture wrought from impossibly contorted human bodies. In adapting John "Derf" Backderf's graphic novel about his awkward high-school relationship with Jeffrey Dahmer, co-writer/director Marc Meyers doesn't employ such imagery--choosing instead to push actor Ross Lynch to the very limits of a tortured character study. The crumbling family life, repressed homosexuality, and razor-thin tightrope walk between peer approval and revulsion make Dahmer such a sympathetic character that it becomes easy to forget how the rage boiling up behind his sheepish eyes and dorky glasses ultimately manifested. A lifetime of being ignored taught Dahmer the art of hiding in plain sight, which gave him the freedom to pursue other arts, too.