The first season of American Crime Story, The People v. O.J. Simpson, was decorated with awards and cast a massive shadow over the second.
The second season, The Assassination of Gianni Versace, takes on America’s most famous failed manhunt. Unlike the title suggests, this season is less about the murder of Versace, the famous Italian designer, and more about his murderer Andrew Cunanan’s crime spree.
Versace is unlike the first season with the chronology of a Vonnegut novel which may confuse someone who is unaware of the Versace murder.
While the actors mostly play their roles up to their writing, the writing is shaky at times. Cunanan is played by Darren Criss, a man who plays Cunanan well, and stands out from the rest of the cast as charismatic. Edgar Ramirez plays Gianni Versace as best he can but the show has its titular character turn stale and repetitive quickly. Versace’s sister, Donatella, is played by Penelope Cruz, who is a star in her own right. Donatella is a brooding, terse, and enigmatic character who is put into some the worse scenes.
Like the cast, the quality of cinematography has dropped. The second season opens charming shots of Miami that give the viewer a Miami Vice vibe, and these scenic shots are soon replaced with shaky and forced camera shots. After the scenic shots change into Versace on the day of his murder, shots seem to close and change abruptly. It seems when watching the show the camera can stay still and changes when you least want it to while some shots seem to drag on.
The Assassination of Gianni Versace is a show that a viewer can binge watch, but the legal intrigue is traded for a Dexter-like character’s murderous rampage. This season isn’t as stellar as its first but still has good moments. It is a worthwhile watch.