|Darren Criss as Andrew Cunanan|
Recently I finished watching a nine part American Crime Drama series - "The Assassination of Gianni Versace".
Now this is somewhat remarkable for three reasons. Firstly, I am sick to the back teeth of dramas built around crime. Can't they find other subjects? Secondly, I have no interest whatsoever in the fashion industry or indeed Gianni Versace. Thirdly, my relationship with television lacks commitment. Usually continuing dramas seem like too much trouble. I don't want television to rule my life.
That said, "The Assassination of Gianni Versace" gripped me. Apart from anything else, it was unusually constructed. Not moving chronologically from point a to point b but much more fluid so that viewers proceeded from the horror of the assassination into a better understanding of the assassin's psychology and warped motivation
The assassin was a fantasist called Andrew Cunanan. A gay escort and a troubled loner, he became obsessed with Versace and in a 1997 killing perhaps reminiscent of John Lennon's death outside the Dakota Building in New York he achieved the notoriety that he had arguably always craved. His part was played brilliantly by Darren Criss. You might even say that this drama was not really about Gianni Versace but about Andrew Cunanan's troubled existence and his inevitable journey to suicide.
Penelope Cruz was less convincing as Versace's sister Donatella and the same might be said of Ricky Martin who played Versace's long time lover Antonio D'Amico.
I agree with Ryan Murphy in "The Guardian" who had been perplexed by several rather negative reviews of the show - "It’s dark and complex and tragic, and it deserves a much better reception than the one it received. If you haven’t seen it, you’re missing out on something special." Of Darren Criss's performance he also said, "Criss is horrifyingly convincing as Cunanan. He’s needy and manipulative and utterly empty; a blank that slowly draws you in to your doom....Criss deserves to be huge because of this role. He cannot win enough awards for it."