Perfect Stranger (15)

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The ViewLondon Review

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Review byMatthew Turner11/04/2007

Two out of Five stars
Running time: 110 mins

Watchable but ultimately frustrating thriller due to its unsympathetic characters, a dodgy script and an overdose of red herrings.

What's it all about?
Halle Berry stars as investigative journalist Rowena Price, who routinely hides behind a male pseudonym and gets results by assuming different identities. When a childhood friend (Nicki Aycox as Grace) is murdered, it appears to be because of her torrid affair with married millionaire ad exec Harrison Hill (Bruce Willis), so Rowena goes undercover to investigate, with the aid of her computer genius colleague Miles (Giovanni Ribisi).

Grace had met Harrison through an online chatroom, so Rowena cosies up to Hill using both online and offline identities. It isn't long before he takes the bait, but do a series of saucy chatroom conversations and a predilection for illicit affairs really add up to murder?

The Bad
Perfect Stranger is something of a throwback to the crappy thrillers of the 1990s, which used to come out every other week in the wake of Basic Instinct. As a result, the film is so desperate for you not to guess the final twist (apparently one of three separately filmed endings) that it piles on the red herrings to the point where you actually cease to care who the real killer is.

It doesn't help that the characters are deeply unsympathetic: Rowena has a tendency towards screechy bouts of rage, Harrison is a smarmy sleazeball and Miles is a twitchy weirdo. The dodgy script doesn't give them much to work with either, frequently throwing up unintentionally laughable lines such as, You know how much Daddy likes bath-time.

The Worst
The film clearly believes it has a point to make about multiple identities and who we really are, but it disappears beneath a series of increasingly unlikely plot revelations.

Worth seeing?
Perfect Stranger is never less than watchable but it's neither as clever nor as enjoyable as it thinks it is. Disappointing.

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Perfect Stranger (15)
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Content updated: 26/09/2018 08:14

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