Directed by: James Foley
Premise: An investigative reporter (Halle Berry) researches the disappearance of a friend who had been having an affair with the CEO (Bruce Willis) of a high profile advertising agency.
What Works: Perfect Stranger starts out very strong with a compelling murder mystery, some interesting character relationships, and sharp dialogue. Halle Berry is pretty good throughout most of the picture, although it is Giovanni Ribisi as a research assistant crushing on Berry’s character who gives the best performance and has the most interesting role.
What Doesn’t: The boons of the film quickly disappear and the story gets stalled up in red herrings that don’t lead anywhere. The screenwriters had several options available to approach this story, such as immediately concluding who our villain is and then working toward building a case against him, or operating as a whodunit and using deduction to discover who the murderer is. Perfect Stranger cannot decide which of these models to use and it fails to appropriately synthesize the two approaches. The result is a sloppy mess of a murder mystery with clues that don’t mean anything, characters who enter and exit the story with no purpose, and a climax that makes no sense whatsoever. The ending stinks of being tagged on independently of the rest of the picture, a cheap hook thrown in for the appearance of cleverness.
Bottom Line: Perfect Stranger is an unintelligible jumble of film. There is not much to redeem it and it ranks as one of the worst films of 2007.
Episode: #140 (May 6, 2007)