Monday, September 17, 2007

Movie Review: Perfect Stranger

Halle Berry continues to prove she's a one-hit wonder with Perfect Stranger, a drab thriller that once again shows the Oscar-winning actress delivering a cardboard performance amidst a poorly scripted and directed story.

Perfect Stranger is about a journalist who goes undercover to investigate a friend's murder. She believes one of the richest men in New York, Harrison Hill (Bruce Willis), is responsible for the woman's death, and starts working for him to get into his life. Sexual tension ensues, but not much else.

Directed by James Foley, the man behind the surprisingly sharp heist flick Confidence, Perfect Stranger appears as though the concept was created by a computer nerd who wanted Halle Berry to star in a Basic Instinct kind of picture. Take out the sex, the intrigue and the plot and you get what you see, a thriller that doesn't really know where it's going and where the most memorable part of the movie is a sequence where Berry has cyber sex.

I'll admit that I started tuning this film out about halfway through, so by the time it gets to its twists (and it does have some, by the way), I really wasn't paying attention. I won't disclose them, partially because I don't want to spoil them for anyone who does decide to risk it, and because I didn't really follow them. Regardless, I will comment on one development that really isn't a twist, and that is the dark nature of Giovanni Ribisi's character. While I wasn't too impressed with the film in general, Perfect Stranger does offer up a few creepy shots and realizations that Ribisi is not the wonderful friend of Berry's that he appears to be.

In reality, the highlight of the film is Ribisi. This guy consistently proves that he is one of the most talented and underrated actors in the business, and I hope that some day he gets his due. He's appeared in great films (and memorable roles) such as Saving Private Ryan and Boiler Room, and it's a shame to see him in pictures like Perfect Stranger. I'd say the same about Berry, who has actually earned an Oscar, but I've come to expect low quality ventures from her. Unlike Ribisi, she just doesn't seem right in this film for whatever reason.

Perfect Stranger has its moments and those who enjoy B-grade thrillers may appreciate aspects of the film, but overall it is a disappointing and under whelming entry for Halle Berry. Oh, and Bruce Willis, too.