DVD/Blu-ray Reviews

Perfect Stranger - DVD Review



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</script></div>{/googleAds}The late, great George Burns once said, â"It ain't the line... it's the delivery." Such a wise musing from such a long-lived man is like a good horoscope: it can be applied in countless ways... including movies. Like any line or sentence, every story needs some key ingredients to make it work..... but to make it not just work but be good - maybe even great - a lot sweat and work goes into it. For argument's sake, let's say you wanna write a thriller your first foray into writing a film. You go out and learn how to do it; then ‘professional' people ahead of you in the game give you the cliff-notes on how to assemble such a work. For the thriller they say you need: suspense; intrigue; misdirection; twists... and all important: relatable characters. So the novice goes out and finds those elements... and most of the time being a first effort they combine them with the success of a Cobra in a baby's crib. Those wiser/‘professional' people say, â"keep trying," and go off to make their next fine example of how to do it in the big leagues. Right? Not in the case of Perfect Stranger...

This is not a ‘reimagined' version of the misadventures of TV's Balki and Larry, no... Perfect Stranger is a thriller that should be used for countless years to demonstrate what would happen if you the novice were to get your first script green-lit. Like a fumbling, first attempt at anything, this film has elements of greatness, but how in the name of Pete the vast array of experienced talent, from the director down, thought this would work is beyond comprehension.

Rowena Price (Halle Berry) is an investigative reporter... with some serious issues. On the eve of a great expository success (taking down a powerful politician) the wheels of power turn and all her work is for naught when the story is buried. Enter an old acquaintance of hers, who spills out a sordid tale about another powerful man (Bruce Willis) getting away with far too much. When the acquaintance ends up murdered, Rowena travels the path of mystery with many duplicitous characters to uncover what really happened. Sounds all right? â"It ain't the line... it's the delivery."

Todd Komarnicki delivers a screenplay filled to the brim with all the requisite elements of a thriller the problems are glaringly evident very early on. Where you should be tied to the seat wondering what happens next, you're looking at your watch wondering when its going to be over. When the good stuff does finally start cropping up its delivered like an epileptic fit: all over the place messy and FAST. The characters, especially the lead, are about as relatable as Hannibal Lector in a sequel to Kindergarten Cop. The plausibility of the characters motives, and the situations they place themselves in, are completely off-the-wall undoable. It seems that the writer's attempt at misdirection and suspense has been mistaken for convolution or implausibility from about ten minutes into the film.

There is some top-notch talent in this film, not surprisingly Hollywood can pull the names for whatever they want. But NOBODY, not even the lovely, Oscar-winning Hally Berry can pull this character off she simple couldn't exist, not even in a padded cell. Catwoman was more believable. Giovanni Ribisi comes close to being complex/believable, and the ever unpredictable Bruce Willis fairs no better with his man-whore/CEO than Berry does. And for God's sake, we know the man is bald, so if you're going to spend millions getting him, then show some respect and give him a wig that doesn't look like a steam-rolled squirrel! He embraced his polished dome in Live Free or Die Hard, looks taught and stylish on a red carpet with it, and it's a good thing!

While a first time director may have been a plausible reason for this implausible mess, the very talented James Folley (The frenetic ‘Corruptor' and effective thriller ‘Fear' being two of his benchmarks) is at the helm of this drivel... and again it begs the question: HOW? Unsurprisingly, the production values, and all that ‘we're an A-list picture' stuff comes off a treat, but is hardly worth complimenting him for it. He should stand in the corner for this effort.

There's hope for the novice yet, people. Rent some Hitchcock, read your screenwriting books, listen to George Burns!... then watch Perfect Stranger and know you can do better... and that our distinguished people of privilege have just given you a valuable learning tool: DON'T do this.


DVD

DVD Details:

A short making of featurette makes up this mediocre DVD for a mediocre movie.

Screen formats: Remastered 2.35:1 Widescreen

Subtitles: English; French; Closed Captioned

Language and Sound: English: Dolby Digital 5.1; French-Canadian: Dolby Digital 5.1

Extra Features:

* Featurette: Virtual Lives: The Making of 'Perfect Stranger making-of featurette
* Trailers: for other Sony films

Number of discs: - 1 with Slipcase packaging

{pgomakase}

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