'Dirty John': While Connie Britton may have your sympathy, Eric Bana deserves your admiration
There's a high chance we will never be able to look at Eric Bana the same way again, thanks to just how good he is playing John Meehan in 'Dirty John'
Bravo's new cautionary tale of falling in love with a conman is nothing short of terrifying. 'Dirty John' not only plays with every fear you have about online dating, but it also shows you just how manipulative and abusive relationships can be. Connie Britton as Debra Newell, the protagonist of this deceitful tale, is beyond amazing — every time she gives into his lies hoping its love, your heart goes out to her. However, while it is only natural to feel sorry for her, don't let that distract you from Eric Bana's impeccable portrayal of the villainous John Meehan.
Bana's Meehan is a man who can only be described as your worst dating nightmare. There's no beginning or end to the character, he's like an endless dark abyss that only gets worse as you dig deeper. There's no sense of redemption, no good and no emotion — John is all about the calculated moves. Neither is there any way in hell you could predict what he would do next nor is there a way for you to ever understand what is going on in his head. All you can feel is a vague knot in the pit of your stomach telling you that he's something terrible and Bana makes you feel it everytime you see him on screen.
John's transition from podcast to television has been so believable — a feat that isn't all that easy. Bana hasn't once lost the creepiness of John since the series aired earlier this month, always making sure that he is never too over the top. There's very little melodrama to him and even when he does shed a tear, it is so controlled, it's extremely creepy — and that's why Bana is perfect for the role. From being a manipulative a-hole to the nice husband who makes Debra smoothies, he makes the swift changes in his character without missing a beat.
Bana makes it so easy to believe him. He's hot, he looks successful and he knows just which buttons to push to get what he wants. In real life, John Meehan was someone just like that — and Bana captures what it is to be him. This has to be his best performance so far in recent times — this man scares you with just a look. Bana's skills in front of the camera have been great in the past, ('Chopper', 'Black Hawk Down', 'Troy' and 'Munich') and he's played the bad guy before (Nero in 'Star Wars') but the depth and control that he's shown in this scripted original is really something else.
He is so fantastic on the show that you get mad at Debra Newell instead, forgetting that she's the one getting conned.
You have to shake yourself and get your sane brain kicking to remind you that he's the one who deserves this frustration and that none of it is Debra's fault — he's that good. We are always wishing and hoping that John isn't who we think he is, just like Debra but, if we didn't know the real story behind 'Dirty John', could we ever be able to tell the truth? Not really.
The reason why he's so good is his portrayal has very little focus on who John is — it appears to remain transfixed on how he behaves.
From how his voice goes unusually cold when he tells Toby that his mother was rightly shot to when he swallows hard while begging Debra for mercy, these tiny details make his character so much more sinister. You could dismiss it, but then, what if that's what John wants you to do?
There's a high chance we will never be able to look at Eric Bana the same way again, thanks to just how good he is. Even if he plays an angel in his next project, we will remain suspicious of his every blessing — this creepiness is too real!