SXSW 2012: ‘Jeff’ offers a unique perspective on the Dahmer horrors

- Advertisement -

Jeff-movie


Jeff
Directed by Chris James Thompson
Written by Chris James Thompson and Andrew Swant
2012, USA

The opening frames of Jeff, which linger on fish swimming in an aquarium as Jeffrey Dahmer (Andrew Swant) admires them, suggest this film isn’t like the other documentaries. And in many ways it is not. Begun as a fictionalized account of Jeffrey Dahmer doing his errands, director Chris James Thompson eventually decided to turn the film into a documentary to make it more dynamic. His interest was not in the specifics of the case (which are mentioned off hand when at all) but in the ways everyone involved in the case was effected.

The main interviewees are Pamela Bass, Dahmer’s former neighbor, Jeffrey Jentzen, the medical examiner on the case, and Pat Kennedy, the detective assigned to the Dahmer. All are incredibly interesting interviews, with Pat Kennedy proving the most lively and entertaining presence. It’s shocking how irreversibly each of their lives has been altered because of Jeffrey Dahmer, but doubly so how much sympathy Bass and Kennedy have for him.

The biggest issue with this film is that it suggests an odder, more experimental documentary than it delivers. The fictionalized segments are interesting, and provide a soothing and often droll counterpoint to the horror of the interviews and archival footage. But they’re hampered by some stilted acting and Swant’s performance as Dahmer is a bit too flat to be truly convincing.

That aside, this documentary pulls you deep into the world of its subjects and offers a unique perspective on the Dahmer horrors. This is the kindest depiction Dahmer could ever ask for, and it’s because he’s being described by those who actually knew him. Thompson’s whole approach deserves accolades, and I look forward to whatever he is cooking up next. Jeff is interesting, dynamic, and absolutely worthwhile, but its ambition outstrips its execution.

Emmet Duff

Visit the official website for SXSW





10 Different Types of Financial Aid
Top 10 Richest American Idols
V-Moda Crossfade Wireless
The 5 Most Expensive Wireless Headphones: Ultimate Auditory Clarity
Business man watching business go bankrupt
25 Iconic Companies that Filed for Bankruptcy
The cast of Married...With Children
25 Little-Known Facts about Married…With Children TV Show
Ice Cube at Straight Outta L.A. at Tribeca Film Festival in 2010
10 Best Ice Cube Movies When You Want to Watch Ice Cube
Luke Evans at the Los Angeles premiere of Beauty And The Beast held at the El Capitan Theatre in Hollywood
10 Best Luke Evans Movies (He did that?)
Football movie being filmed
The 25 Greatest Football Movies of All Time
10 Different Types of Papaya (Plus Interesting Facts)
18 Different Types of Artichokes
5 Different Types of Fudge (by Cooking Method)
29 Different Types of Bread
10 Different Types of Tow Trucks
Electric mountain bike on the trails
18 Things to Know Before Buying an Electric Bike
Side and rear view of black 2017 Audi A7
23 Things to Know Before Buying an Audi A7
Motorhome on highway going through Bryce Canyon in the USA
13 Types of RV’s (Recreational Vehicles) for All Kinds of Vacation Fun
15 Different Types of Goggles
13 Different Types of Dumbbells
15 Awesome Alternatives to Skateboards (Plus Interesting Facts)
Baseball player hitting ball
10 Types of Baseball Bats that Rip the Leather Off the Ball
Camera, lenses and other photography equipments.
45 of the Best Online Photography and Camera Stores
9 Different Types of Website Hosting
5 Different Types of Pulleys (Plus Examples in Daily Life)
Apple Wallet icon on iPhone
15 Things to Know Before Setting Up Apple Pay
Natural herbal vitamins.
10 of the Best Online Vitamin Stores
>