A Perfect Murder


A Perfect Murder, the terrific new mystery from director Andrew Davis is indeed a remake of a Hitchcock movie by the same name. And while, regrettably, I haven’t seen the original, it couldn’t have been much better than this.

Gwyneth Paltrow plays the incredibly wealthy wife of Steve (Michael Douglas), an incredibly wealthy business man. She is having an affair with an artist (or so we think) named David Shaw. But something is terribly wrong. Steve goes to see David, wants to look at his paintings, or so he says. The truth is — he wants David, his wife’s lover, to kill her.

I want to preserve as many surprises as possible in this marvelous film, so I will not reveal any more plot points. Be assured however, that A Perfect Murder twists and turns as much as any film (except for perhaps The Game, David Fincher’s great thriller also starring Douglas) in recent years. And just as you think that the film has painted itself into a corner, it jumps right out at you with yet another plot twist.

But the best thing about this intriguing and involving excersise is how director Davis sets up an atmosphere, a mood. This is noticeable in many factors; he uses sweeping camera shots much more than cuts, both Paltrow and Douglas always wear black, the houses are in dark, bleak tones — everything is so effectively ominous and sinister. It is a pure pleasure to watch.

Oh, and then there is Michael Douglas, whose contribution to the film is invaluable. He gives a dauntless performance, delivering his lines with emotion as well as resraint. He gives us such a wonderful villain, you might think that he is playing himself. Paltrow is good but not outstanding.

The script is very smart, with effecive use of phrase repetition. Many of the lines given to Douglas seem as if they are written just for him (“…this is all a con, and my wife is the grand prize…”).

This is a movie where nearly everything works. The result? An intriguing, suspenseful thriller that grabs you by the throat from the very beginning and doesn’t let go until the credits start to roll

-- Eugene Novikov

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Screening Log


Ric Roman Waugh, 2013

Score: C

Side Effects

Steven Soderbergh, 2013

Score: C+

10 Years

Jamie Linden, 2012

Score: B-

The Place Beyond the Pines

Derek Cianfrance, 2013

Score: B+

Warm Bodies

Jonathan Levine, 2013

Score: C

Beautiful Creatures

Richard LaGravanese, 2013

Score: B-

The Window

Ted Tetzlaff, 1949

Score: B+

The Chase

Arthur Ripley, 1946

Score: B

Street of Chance

Jack Hively, 1942

Score: C

The Taste of Money

Im Sang-Soo, 2013

Score: C+

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