I recently wrote a review on the first season of American Crime Story. As I was fascinated by The People vs. O.J. Simpson and deeply impressed by how good the season turned out to be, I immediately sat down the watch the second one as well. Let’s talk about The Assassination of Gianni Versace!
The story kicks off with the assassination of Gianni Versace and follows the trail of his murderer Andrew Cunanan. We soon find out Versace wasn’t the only victim…
I was positively transfixed by this season as well, but I have some things to criticize, so let’s start with that.
The title is misleading. While the season begins with Versace’s death, it’s actually about his killer and not about the designer per se. He just happened to be one of the victims. The bits about Versace, his career and his life were very interesting and posed a good contrast to the scenes about Cunanan. However, they sometimes felt a bit forced. This is not Versace’s story yet they kept trying to insert bits and pieces, making it about him.
I hope this doesn’t come across the wrong way, as those scenes were really touching and fascinating. However, it sometimes felt like two different shows somehow fused into one. When you consider that we don’t even know whether Cunanan and Versace had ever met (they do on the show, but only briefly, while in reality, his family claims Versace had never met him), it becomes even more obscure why the season is so set on making it about Versace.
Anyways! As I said, this season is about Andrew Cunanan, his crazy murder spree, and what might have led him to act in such a way. He killed five people, just to put the Versace thing in perspective. Darren Criss plays this guy and, man, he nailed it. He really gave me chills several times throughout the season and I couldn’t imagine anybody else taking on the role.
What did irritate me a bit is that the story goes back and forth in time quite a lot while sifting through Cunanan’s past. It’ll take you a few episodes to get the hang of what’s going on and you might be confused a bit. Just work through it, I promise it pays off.
The bits about Cunanan were nothing short of intense. It’s always interesting when a show picks apart the inner workings of a serial killer (at least it is for me) and attempts to give you an insight into his psyche. What I do consider somewhat problematic here is the amount of speculation and fiction. Cunanan is dead and so many parts we get to see can’t have all that many underlying facts. That poses a stark contrast to the first season where every detail seemed to be backed up by books, witnesses, and media reports.
All that aside, I need to point out how marvelous the cinematography is. Honestly, this is one of the most beautiful things I’ve ever seen on the screen. The colors, the framing, the set design – you can tell how much thought and effort went into every little detail. By the way, the soundtrack is also pretty dope.
Finally, I’d like to shower the cast with some praise. I was at first a bit annoyed that instead of actually casting Italian actors to play Donatella, Gianni, and his boyfriend, Antonio, they chose Penelope Cruz, Edgar Ramirez, and Ricky Martin. However, the absolutely nailed the looks, and all of them did a great joy. I was especially surprised that Ricky Martin is such a good actor!
Although the second season of American Crime Story has a few flaws, it is still fascinating to watch. It’s worth checking out for the cinematography alone. The brilliant acting is just the cherry on top!
Did you watch the season? Let me know in the comments what you think!