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A Perfect Murder

April 12, 2013

A Perfect Murder (1998)
Director: Andrew Davis
Actors: Michael Douglas, Gwyneth Paltrow, Viggo Mortensen

A Perfect Murder

Synopsis: Steven Taylor (Michael Douglas) discovers his wife (Gwyneth Paltrow) is having an affair with bohemian artist, David Shaw (Viggo Mortensen). Taylor delves into some details of Shaw’s murky past, and thinks he can use that as bait to compel Shaw into murdering his wife….

Review: There’s nothing especially original about A Perfect Murder – not just because it’s a near remake of Hitchcock’s Dial M for Murder – but also as it’s the sort of pulpy, disposable thriller that Hollywood churns out on an endless basis. Taken on those terms, A Perfect Murder is a perfectly enjoyable popcorn joyride, and director Andrew Davis gets most of his tactics just right. The three characters – or, should I say archetypes – are perfectly cast and portrayed, and Michael Douglas simply owns the role of New York financier, Steven Taylor, who sets in motion the chain of blackmail and murderous conspiracy. The design of the piece is perfect, with conman artist David Shaw’s bohemian Brooklyn loft-space and Taylor’s palatial Uptown apartment, proving appropriately striking arenas for the ensuing plot to unfold. Even if the film does get ever-so-slightly bogged down in the convoluted minutiae of its plot by the climax, it’s hard to begrudge the pretence-free storytelling efficiency otherwise and how Davis throws us right into the middle of the machinations of the narrative and its cardboard-cut characters at the story’s opening. (April 2013)

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