My Friend Dahmer (2017)

Serving almost as an unintentional companion piece to 2002’s underrated “Dahmer” (which stars Jeremy Renner), this semi-fictionalized account of Jeffrey Dahmer’s later high school years and the gradual lead-up to his life as a cannibal serial killer is an engaging, compelling character study blessed with terrific acting. Lead Ross Lynch pulls off a neat trick of playing an inscrutable character without alienating the audience, managing to convey a heartbreaking, desperate desire for love and companionship without much dialogue, and Anne Heche is remarkable as his casually cruel mother. Director and screenwriter Marc Meyers manages to create a mostly tasteful drama out of grisly, unimaginable brutality, and while the rather abrupt final few minutes come perilously close to exploitative, the movie manages to humanize its subject matter without ever excusing or defending him.

Rating: ★★★★ (out of 5)

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