Tag Archives: African-American

TV Review: Dahmer (2022)

Netflix‘s Dahmer is a psychological crime drama based on the true story of the serial killer, Jeffrey Dahmer. Dahmer is a limited series of ten episodes that focuses on his crimes, his motives, his victims, and the impact on American society and community, both white and black.

I will say that Dahmer is truly a courageous project pulled by Netflix as the creators Ryan Murphy and Ian Brennan along with the team of writers and directors brought the best outcome of the entire showcasing of the bloody psycho show.

The two words to praise the show’s content and intent will be; disgusting and disturbing. Do I need to explain why I used these two words? I don’t think so. But I must admit that at the halfway mark, I really felt that Dahmer being immensely horrible was tested to limits.

And full marks to Evan Peters who pulled a performance to make you hate him and curse him, I mean Dahmer. The reason I am clarifying this is because on the TV Time app, I observed to my surprise that many voters were criticizing other voters to vote for Evan Peters. Whereas the vote was for the actor, of course not for Dahmer. People really must not be that foolish I swear.

Now the objective of this show was successfully achieved from all aspects. Dahmer’s origins, his childhood, his bullying in school, the parents fighting, the birth of killing instincts, the sexual disorder, the obsession with killing, the show covered everything. And that is the beauty of television that is difficult to achieve in a motion picture.

Dahmer’s parents are worth observation. Dahmer’s mental disturbance was the result of his parent’s fights and divorce. His father was more at fault for exposing him to dead animals on the streets. After Dahmer was arrested, the father realized way too late and he confessed to him in court that he got the same feelings as him. So this torch of madness passed from father to son.

There is a generous need of distinguishing the podium of the significance of the central character. Because the makers here didn’t glorify the serial killer. More than Dahmer being a Milwaukee Cannibal, the show focused on the mental areas of disturbance that caused Dahmer to hurt people.

After Dahmer’s sentencing, the show had two more episodes and perhaps the audience at that point begins to think why further. The reason is that ‘impact’. The writers and makers wanted to show the impact his trial made in America. And it was no joke. The system was rightfully questioned. The law and order, the police, and safety issues were put into question. When Dahmer was committing those brutal crimes, no cop was interested to check him. To my utter surprise, he escaped from getting caught every time before his arrest.

And this is where the sociopolitical agenda strikes the right chords; the injustice with the African-Americans! Superbly dramatizes the double standards of how the Black community was heavily ignored when they complained. Police escorting the 14-year-old kid back to Dahmer’s residence was just insane. The episodes on Tony, Glenda, and Dahmer’s parents were necessary fills.

The ninth and the second-last episode breaks the audience with zero optimism for four reasons. The cops getting awards? Arresting Sandra for breaking a camera? The cops making threatening calls to the victim’s family! And Jeff establishing fanhood!

The world is so sick that people can get inspiration from his killings, become his fans, send him letters, and request his autograph. How will psychopaths like Dahmer not be encouraged? White supremacy is another tragic angle. Three young white boys taking pictures in front of that building with a killing pose? This is the precise problem that needs to be addressed. No wonder how many Dahmers are there in America and other countries.

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Dahmer shows honesty in historical accuracy and distances from sensationalizing. From the technical aspects of filmmaking, the direction is impressive, especially the episodes directed by Jennifer Lynch. The music score of Nick Cave and Warren Ellis is gloomy. Besides Evan Peters’ unforgettably sublime performance, Niecy Nash as Glenda and Richard Jenkins as Dahmer’s father were excellent. The latter’s emotional breakdowns were accurate.

Dahmer makes the audience cold like dead meat smoldering with complaints that no one will listen to. It is a sad case that makes you sick and humiliated that there are people like Dahmer who are just one step away to finish you in the worst possible way and destroy your family.

RATINGS = 8.6/10

 

Film Review: Lady Sings The Blues (1972)

PREFACE

Lady Sings The Blues is the bio-drama of the legendary Jazz singer Billie Holiday. It is based on her autobiography with the same title. This film marked two notable debuts. One was Diana Ross‘ as an actor who played the central character and the other was Motown‘s big daddy Berry Gordy Jr. as a film producer. The film didn’t meet a mega success but got recognition with five nominations for the Academy Awards.

This film tempted me to watch it for a few important reasons. One is that I am a fan of Billie Holiday and have listened to most of her songs, including Decca Recordings. After watching The United States Vs. Billie Holiday last year, I felt that I must check this old classic to observe their take on her life. Another reason is that I never watched Diana Ross as an actress, have only listened to her music. And then Berry Gordy trying his hand at the film production made my mind further because I have huge respect for this man for giving birth to Motown Records through which many legendary singers and bands blessed us with rich music, especially in R&B and Soul.

ISSUES

The impressions I held for the film met a fatal blow for some critical reasons. Let me try to highlight a few.

The most critical error is Diana Ross herself. Despite a breathtaking performance, her selection for the role of Billie is a huge question mark. She neither reminds Billie facially nor her vocals while in character, Diana’s vocals are not even close to her. Billie had a distinguished voice that defined the Jazz music that was played in the 1930s and 40s. Those ears who have listened to the recordings of Billie will clearly complain that Diana didn’t try to give a feel of Billie in her voice at all. With such a problem in the selection, the film makes you believe more in Diana’s story instead of Billie’s.

The second issue with the film is that despite being adapted from her biography, a lot of liberty is taken from the material. Even if I keep the book aside or say that the film is not based on any book but is based directly on the legendary singer without the use of any source, the screenplay is questionable. The handsome Billy Dee Williams plays Billie’s husband, Louis McKay, and fits in the story when Billie was a rookie in the nightclub. Whereas, Louis came into Billie’s life later. Billie married three times in her life but the film mentions Louis as if he was in her life right from the start. And then the characterization of Louise is doubtful. Louise was abusive to Billie but here, he is totally opposite. So if the actual reputation of Louise really is bad then this bio-drama disrespects Billie’s sentiments by showing her cruel man with the Godly image.

Another problem is that the film ignores the dark consequences in Billie’s life like the troubles she faced with legal issues. The film missed the chance to depict how her most famous song “Strange Fruit” impacted the audience. In the film, Billie witnesses some terrifying cruelty on the African-Americans and then sings this track. And then there is no mention of it. If you make a film on Billie, you have to tell the world the political and social impact of the song.

IMPRESSIONS

My criticism about the film is based on fact that it did no justice to Billie’s legacy. I felt like the makers preferred to give Diana a platform to establish herself as an actress rather than present us with the life of a legend in those troubling times in America.

But true story aside, there is no doubt about the film’s excellence if I take a general view. Sidney J. Furie is quite a name who has been directing films for around six decades. And he did a splendid job in directing this film. There were a few intense scenes that can make the audience uncomfortable like Billie’s first performance in the nightclub when the audience breaks her confidence for not picking their money from her body despite singing so well. It was a social mockery of the public concern that portrays the horrors of singing at the nightclub.

Billie witnessing dead bodies on the trees and people around lamenting is another shot carefully directed that led to Billie’s health deterioration. Not sure if such an incident occurred but there is a scene when Billie is enjoying herself with all her white friends in the touring band when the bus is suddenly stopped to pave way for KKK demonstrators. Billie gets angry and passes angry verbal remarks leading to a bus attack and minor injuries. It was a very significant shot to spare a thought for. Even if such an event never happened with Billie, it still qualified as the need of the hour to give a glimpse of political unrest to the audience.

It is hard to believe that this was the first time Diana Ross performed in the film. The moment Diana enters the prison to be thrown into her cell at the beginning, she doesn’t remind any of us if this is a performance. Her facial expressions and body language were perfect.

CLOSING REMARK

I like the film in general. If I keep this out of my head that this is based on the true life of a legend, it is an excellent film with a fabulous performance by Diana, some good support from an impressive casting, excellent costume design, and direction. But the main purpose of the film was to watch Billie’s life in the reel and that did no justice. After all, this is why this film came into production but took a lot of liberty. So enjoy the film about her life but believe almost nothing about what most of the film showed you.

RATINGS: 5/10