Saturday, January 27, 2018
My Review of The Assassination Of Gianni Versace: American Crime Story - Manhunt
Written by Tom Robb Smith
Directed by Nelsan Cragg
Ronnie: "Andrew, what do you do?"
Andrew: "Nothing. I've done nothing. I've done nothing my whole life, that's the truth."
And we're onto the second episode of this fashion killing themed season. Going with the first episode, it seems we'll be bouncing back and forth between years as the time here was split between Cunanan's arrival in Miami and the Versace family dealing with illness, fashion shows and fidelity.
Sticking with the Versace part first - I know this series is going by Maureen Orth's Vulgar Favours book about Cunanan and Versace but as much as I am enjoying this series, I can see why the latter's family are more than happy to distance themselves from it as well. It's one thing to speculate that Gianni had HIV but it's another thing to actually pass it off as factual, even if it might have been potentially true. Considering that Feud itself got a lawsuit set on it, I'm surprised it didn't happen here as well.
Last week, I wasn't really that impressed with both Ricky Martin and Penelope Cruz as Antonio and Donatella respectively but I did think both of them put in better performances this week as flashbacks showed the two of them clashing over Gianni's condition and lifestyle while unable to band together following his death at Cunanan's hands this week. The good thing about this episode is that I think it did a great job of conveying both Donatella and Antonio's respective pain for losing Gianni.
Another strong point was the rivalry between Donatella and Gianni as well as seeing something of a shift in the latter's relationship with Antonio when he wanted to give up bringing men back to their place and settle down with Gianni. I think both Edgar Ramirez and Ricky Martin are playing off each other extremely well in the tender scenes they're sharing.
As for Andrew Cunanan. we saw him arrive in Miami and we saw him charm a lady at a local motel into letting him stay before we saw him also befriend former florist/escort/drug addict Ronnie Holston (Max Greenfield) as the two of them hung out for most of the episode, before Cunanan was forced to flee after his identity was made known to the cops.
Once again, Darren Criss is on fine form as Cunanan's effortless lying to everyone he encounters is genuinely terrifying to watch. There was even a bondage session with an older guy that I'm actually surprised didn't result in death but as the episode reminded us, Cunanan's bloodlust was never far behind as we saw his creepy tribute to Gianni on display and his last encounter with a guy in a gay bar probably won't result in anything good either.
- The story about the other Versace sister, Tina is actually true. The stuff with Ronnie on the other hand, not so much.
- I am a little disappointed that unlike American Horror Story and Feud, this show doesn't go for a more fancier title sequence.
- Standout music: There a selection but the uses of Easy Lover and Gloria certainly stood out the most.
- Chronology: May 1994 and July 1997 for this episode.
Manhunt keeps the pace going pretty well with some better emphasis on both Donatella and Antonio, making them better characters to watch compared to the opening episode but it's still both Gianni and Andrew who hold the most attention. The least go to the detectives but their scenes are at least decent exposition material while the Miami setting really adds to the series.
Rating: 7 out of 10