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Perfect Stranger
Genre Thriller
Year: 2007

Perfect Stranger was filmed with three alternative endings in mind and this is its Achilles Heel. The movie is sleek, the story is intriguing and the cast is incredible. Halle Berry takes the lead as Rowena Price, a beautiful journalist who goes undercover to bring a high-powered advertising executive (Willis) to justice with the help of her techno-savvy friend (Ribisi). She clashes with Harrison Hill, when she discovers that he has ties to the murder of her best friend. Hill wields a top advertising agency and his lust for women only eclipses his paranoia of being stiffed by his opposition. Then Miles Haley, Rowena’s cool geeky guy friend adds another angle to the film with his crush on Rowena.

It’s a psychological thriller and a love triangle with secret identities. Perfect Stranger had the potential to be a fantastic film. The cast, design, story and crew all seemed to be the right ingredients for a sleek psychological thriller. However, the story is flawed and a flashback sequence add-on ends up ruining an otherwise entertaining erotic thriller. To make matters worse several product placements for Victoria’s Secret, Reebok and Heineken are blown out of proportion.

Perfect Stranger tangles itself in a number of interconnected relationships until it has nowhere left to turn. The conclusion is like something out of the Twilight Zone in its absurdity and makes the rest of the film feel like a blatant lie. The perspective for Perfect Stranger was wrong from the start. If the film-makers had made Perfect Stranger a story according to one of the characters, they could have given themselves more freedom. Perfect Stranger is like one big red herring, and has nothing of Hitchcock. The audience automatically assumes an objective camera eye and every scene is meant to reveal the truth. Perfect Stranger falls apart in the last ten minutes in an attempt to flummox the most experienced moviegoers.

The joke is on the film-makers and everything is spoilt by one of the most ludicrous endings ever. If you decide to watch Perfect Stranger, try to focus on the architecture, lighting and solid performances. For maximum enjoyment, ignore the outlandish flashbacks and stop watching just when you think Rowena’s confronted the killer. It’s unfortunate that this thriller had to be ruined by a slapdash conclusion. They should release a Director’s Cut without the loose back story and an option to view a different ending on each subsequent viewing like they did for Clue.

The bottom line: Preposterous.

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