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  Versace Murder, The No Laughing MurderBuy this film here.
Year: 1998
Director: Menahem Golan
Stars: Franco Nero, Steven Bauer, Shane Perdue, Matt Servitto, David Wolfson, Oscar Torre, David Anthony Pizzuto, Renny Roker, Dania Deville, Pablo Durán, Robert W. Horton, Helen M. Gwynn, Robert Weinstein, Mario Ortiz, Mona Frankel, Vincent Coppola
Genre: Trash, Biopic
Rating:  2 (from 1 vote)
Review: Gianni Versace (Franco Nero) was one of the world's most celebrated fashion designers, and in Miami he he had settled into a routine, enjoying a morning walk every day to collect his breakfast and magazines. But there was one man desperate to meet him, because he thought he would make an ideal model in one of his shows, and that man was Andrew Cunanan (Shane Perdue) who would prove to be very dangerous, so dangerous in fact that Versace would regret being so comfortable living with such a lack of security around him...

Here's a movie where you already know the ending, thanks not only it being based upon a notorious killing, but also gives away in the title that Versace was murdered, so if you came to this not knowing who he was, then you would at least be aware that things did not end well for him here, or in real life for that matter. In the tradition of those torn from the headlines movies that have popped up to cash in on sensational occurences since the birth of the medium, this was about as morally dubious as it could get, as judging by the amount of care and attention which went into it they were purely keen to get the thing made cheaply and out into the world to make them a quick buck.

What Nero was doing in this is anybody's guess, but perhaps he owed the director a favour for that ninja movie he made for him back in the eighties - that's right, the man at the helm was none other than Menahem Golan, half of the brains behind the notorious Cannon Films of the decade. Don't approach this expecting that level of cheesy entertainment that they were best known for, as far from machine gun battles and cars bumping into piles of cardboard boxes this was pitched barely as television quickie, looking more like a home movie that somehow happened to have an international, if ageing, movie star in its lead role.

Well, I say the lead role, but quite apart from the fact that Nero glided through his scenes in a peculiarly dazed state, the character we mostly followed was notorious serial killer Cunanan. To say that even Nero's noncommittal performance looked Oscar-worthy in comparison with the amateurish Perdue, for whom this was unsurprisingly his sole credit, would not be overstating the case, sinking the production to the status of a bunch of chancers playing with a camera they happened to have in their possession. But let's not pin the whole blame on the unlucky Perdue, for it's not as if he did not have any assistance in the creation of this undoubted fiasco.

We follow Cunanan through his series of murders, starting with the boyfriend of an old flame, then the old flame himself, but not before scenes reminiscent of American daytime soap opera, you know, where they stand in the centre of sets emoting and arguing in each other's faces? As if that were not enough of a slight on the memory of the victims, you never feel involved to the degree that you have any connection to those we see die onscreen, from the businessman Cunanan tortured to death to Versace himself: the artificiality prevents anything but unintentional snickering or bored eye-rolling. If you were not aware that Golan had directed this you'd have no idea that the man behind the scenes had so much experience in the movie business - the whole sorry affair comes across as no more interested in the real case than providing a gay thrill with its dancing sequences. That's if you can hear the music, as some prints leave Claudio Simonetti's tunes off completely, rendering this even shoddier.
Reviewer: Graeme Clark

 

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