Starring: Halle Berry, Bruce Willis,
Giovanni Ribisi, and Gary
Audience: Older teenagers and adults
Runtime: 109 minutes
Distributor: Columbia Pictures/Sony
Director: James Foley
Executive Producer: Ron Bozman, Deborah Schindler
and Charles Newirth
Producer: Elaine Goldsmith-Thomas
Writer: Todd Komarnicki
Address Comments To:Michael Lynton, Chairman/CEO
Amy Pascal, Chairman - Motion Picture Group
Sony Pictures Entertainment
(Columbia Pictures/MGM/TriStar/Screen Gems/Provident)
10202 West Washington Blvd.
Culver City, CA 90232-3195
Phone: (310) 244-4000
Fax: (310) 244-2626
Web Page: www.spe.sony.com/
Halle Berry stars as investigative reporter Rowena Price. Giovanni Ribisi is her computer hacking assistant, Miles, who is secretly in love with her. After their New York editors nix their scandal piece on a family values politician who has secret homosexual affairs, Rowena quits the paper. When her estranged girlfriend, Grace, is found murdered, she goes undercover as a temp worker at the agency run by Harrison Hill, a powerful ad executive played by Bruce Willis. Before she died, Grace suddenly showed up and told Rowena she had slept with Hill, a notorious playboy with a wife, who actually owns the agency. Rowena thinks Hill just may have murdered Grace to keep his affairs secret.
PERFECT STRANGER stretches credulity at times, but it has some intense drama and suspense once the ad executive appears in the story. There are also some nifty twists at the end. Halle Berry, however, is not that gifted an actress despite her Oscar®, which was undeserved. She needs someone of superior talent like Bruce Willis to play off well. The movie also has a couple shots at the end that are unintentionally laughable. Despite that, the ending is pretty good.
PERFECT STRANGER is, however, a humanist movie with strong pagan content and no positive references to morality or God. There is also that brief introductory sequence about the family values politician who secretly has homosexual affairs. In one scene, the heroine attacks him for being a hypocrite because he has sponsored legislation that's "intolerant" of homosexuality. Of course, this pro-homosexual, immoral segment, though brief, is politically correct and shows the movie's basically humanist, pagan character. Thankfully, however, there are no more politically correct moments. The rest of the movie plays like the typical psychological thriller with the archetypal plot twists.
PERFECT STRANGER also has lots of strong foul language, including some frank sexual dialogue. In addition, it has some sexual photos during one of several plot twists at the end. The rest of the movie's sexual content is implied.
Ultimately, PERFECT STRANGER is a lightweight homage to the master of suspense and psychological thrillers, Alfred Hitchcock. It's not without its own merits. For instance, one of the movie's nods to Hitchcock is a strong visual motif regarding eyes, which harkens back to Hitchcock's obsession with voyeurism. Voyeurism is a very cinematic psychological malady that can have many, different profound meanings beyond its sexual aspects. After all, moviegoers are like vicarious voyeurs spying on the private lives of fictional characters. A voyeur exposes secrets for his own amusement. An investigative journalist like the heroine here exposes secrets for the amusement of other people.
PERFECT STRANGER stretches credulity at times and could use a better performance from Halle Berry, but it has some intense drama and suspense once the ad executive appears. There are also some nifty twists at the end. PERFECT STRANGER is, however, a humanist movie with strong pagan content and no positive references to morality or God. It also has lots of strong foul language and some racy sex photos. It deserves extreme caution.