Saturday, January 23, 2010

'Perfect Stranger' should remain unknown

Perfect Stranger (2007)
Starring: Halle Berry, Giovanni Ribisi, and Bruce Willis
Director: James Foley
Rating: Three of Ten Stars

An investigative reporter (Berry) goes undercover at a top ad agency to prove that its face man Harrison Hill (Willis) murdered her best friend. But can the truth be discoverd when the investigation is mired in hidden agendas?

"Perfect Strangers" is a thriller that is completely devoid of tension, partly because the viewer is never convinced that the supposed murderer is all that dangerous and partly because we're not given a reason to like any of the characters enough to care whether they too get poisoned with an overdose of belladonna.

To add insult to injury, the films lazily written--to the point where every character on screen even sounds alike--and it's got one of those annoying, unnessecary twist-endings that in a desperate attempt to breathe some life and excitement into the film only manages to underscore how haphazard and badly executed it is. (I will grant that it's an ending better supported by what has gone before than in other films, but it's still false, hollow and a bit of a cheat. It's made more of a cheat because of the audience-manipulating flashbacks that appear throughout the film; I despise this movie even more for its refusal to play fair with the viewer and provide ligitimate clues so we can "play along" in solving the mystery at its core and instead feeding us distortions.

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