TV Review: “American Crime Story: The Assassination of Gianni Versace” (2018) ★★★★


How much do we know about the assassination of Gianni Versace? Is there any confirmed evidence of why the serial killer Andrew Cunanan chose the famous designer as his next victim? No matter how desperate we are to find out the painful truth, or get some kind of a closure for ourselves, I am sure Ryan Murphy’s “American Crime story: The Assassination of Gianni Versace” should never be used as a reference or a solid source of information. Still, it is a great piece to watch and to provide our minds with food known to many as ‘plain curiosity’.

 The opening scene of the episode is what the viewer needs to be transported back to the day when Versace was assassinated right at the doorsteps of his mansion in Miami. This sequence gives us chills and reveals what a drastic end awaits Versace. And I must say it is beautifully executed! The main focus of the show is Versace’s murder. Yet, it gives us an overview of the designer’s relationship with his sister Donatella, his boyfriend Antonio, and finally about Andrew Cunanan’s obsession with Versace. Or maybe we should rather call it jealousy toward rich and successful people, who are far more accomplished than Cunanan.

It is hard to say whether the lack of self-confidence and jealousy were the driving motive for Cunanan to become a serial killer. At least, Ryan Murphy’s version of the events is not going to give an answer to that question. What’s really interesting to learn from the episode – whether true or not – is the insight of Versace’s relationship with his long-time partner Antonio D’Amico, who is portrayed by Ricky Martin. Another intriguing revelation is that for all the dresses Versace has created and also for the way he has made them, we all shall be thankful to his mother.

Although the episode is about the assassination of Versace, the murderer gets an almost equal amount of screen time. And that makes the series more versatile. Having watched three different episodes of the series, I can see that Murphy’s approach is clear and straightforward. As a viewer, you are not left with any puzzles to solve. Instead, you get to study characters of two people from two different social classes and whose lives are changed forever because of the events of the episode. As you might already know, none of those characters lives long enough to learn whether there could be an alternative outcome. And that’s what will always remain a mystery for us as well.

As usual, Ryan Murphy manages to cast the best possible actors for the parts. Edgar Ramirez as Versace, Darren Criss as Andrew Cunanan – the cold-blooded murder, both are brilliant. The Spanish Diva Penelope Cruz is perfect as a caring, loving and grieving sister. Cruz gives the character of Donatella the emotional depth, compassion and feminine strength that only she could’ve been able to capture.

In conclusion, “The Assassination of Gianni Versace” is another decent production by Ryan Murphy. If we leave out the question about the accuracy of the story and the actual events, the show continues the legacy of the great “American Crime” series that have changed the world forever. The captures one of the most unspeakable crimes committed by a serial killer who by the time of the crime has already claimed four other innocent lives. Just to conclude that – none of these lost lives are erased by the history. By killing them, the murder only adds more significance to their figures. And that’s exactly what has happened to Gianni Versace.

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