Film Review: My Friend Dahmer @ Leeds International Film Festival 2017
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High School graduation is an incredibly pivotal moment for any teenager. It's the beginning of the rest of your life, as many people say. Some go on to be doctors and engineers, while others might go into business or the arts. Jeffrey Dahmer, on the other hand, became one of the most notorious serial killers in American history. The root causes of Dahmer's shocking descent into depravity, which resulted in the deaths of seventeen young men over a period of thirteen years, have long been theorised and deliberated through a variety of mediums, albeit, usually taking a sharp focus on his crimes. In contrast, with My Friend Dahmer, Marc Meyers' cordially captures, with a caustic wit, an intimately sincere portrayal of the disturbed adolescence that Jeffrey reticently endured. Adapted from cartoonist John 'Derf' Backderf's best-selling graphic novel of the same name, the film intricately delves into the enticing nature of Dahmer's intrepid disruptions of social norms, in tandem with the progressively potent habitual tendencies that would eventually mutate into a lifestyle of which, he himself retrospectively insinuated, he had little control. For those at all familiar with Dahmer's early life, the contents of the film's opening exchanges will certainly not come as a surprise. His obsession with the plainly literal 'inner self' spawned from a penchant for collecting and experimenting with whatever roadkill he might come across during his walks home from school. By the time we join him, during his senior year at Revere High School, he has already amassed an ample menagerie of both dissolving and preserved fauna. His very own 'pet cemetery' as his father Lionel terms it.
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