Thursday, January 18, 2018

My Review of The Assassination Of Gianni Versace: American Crime Story - The Man Who Would Be Vogue

Written by Tom Robb Smith
Directed by Ryan Murphy

Andrew (to a boyfriend): "I really do have a date with Gianni Versace."

American Crime Story is going to be like Feud for me in the sense that some seasons will pique my interest more than others and the ones that do will get bigger reviews. The first season of this show did a good job with the OJ Simpson trial with both Cuba Gooding Jr and Sarah Paulson on fine form but this is the season of this particular show I've been clamouring for the longest time.

Originally The Assassination Of Gianni Versace was meant to be the show's third season with the events of Katrina intended for the second year but things have been swapped around and we get this one earlier than expected as the episode starts with Gianni's brutal murder while ending with his killer, Andrew Cunanan looking a bit too pleased with himself.

I really don't want to jump ahead here but going by this episode alone, I actually do think Darren Criss could be onto some awards as his portrayal of Cunanan seems to be eerily on point. Through his interactions with his straight couple friends, a former boyfriend and Gianni himself, Andrew is presented as a fantasist whose homicidal tendencies are barely concealed.

Seeing Andrew constantly lie to everyone else around is pretty alarming, especially as his friends and Versace themselves seem to be reeled into his various backstories. I even had a hard time keeping up with them at times but the back and forth between killer and final victim certainly was compelling to watch nonetheless.

Then there's the title character himself. Edgar Ramirez does actually look similar enough even without the makeup and changed hair to Versace but he really seems to get the part pretty well so far. His past is touched upon nicely in a post opera scene with Cunanan and the depths of his relationship with Antonio D'Amico (Ricky Martin) are also looked into as well.

While both Ramirez and Criss are the best parts of the first episode, it's everyone else who are just kind of there. All the detective/police characters feel a little too generic so far, which I'm not too fussed about but I was kind of hoping that Penelope Cruz would stand out a bit more as Donatella Versace herself. So far she seems a bit subdued but given that there are eight episodes left to go in this particular season, I'm sure she'll get moments to really impress. The jury is out on Ricky Martin as D'Amico as well. He might surprise but I wasn't too taken with his portrayal just yet.

- Tom Robb Smith who will be writing nearly all the episodes this season previously worked on BBC drama, London Spy.
- The dove beside Versace actually did happen. That along with Miami Beach, the pawn shop tip, Donatella's arrival and Cunanan's constant were things the episode got completely right.
- Standout music: A few 90's hits playing as well as the overuse of Adagio for the first seven minutes of the episode. I have to admit that did jar things a little at the start.
- Chronology: July 15th 1997 for a good portion of the episode as well as 1990 to depict Versace and Cunanan's first meeting.

The Man Who Would Be Vogue is a good start to this season. It definitely feels like a big enough contrast to last season's OJ trial and certainly going for the glamour factor that appealed to those who would've enjoyed Bette And Joan last year as well. The time jumps that we're going to get for the remainder of the season could make or break things but this opening episode did more than enough to reel me in.

Rating: 7 out of 10

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