- Halle Berry as Rowena Price
- Bruce Willis as Harrison Hill
- Giovanni Ribisi as Miles Haley
A frankly boring, ridiculous and not at all intriguing techno thriller, Perfect Stranger is a film best described as a real mess, despite having the talents of Halle Berry and Bruce Willis.
Rowena Price is a hard-nosed reporter, writing under a pseudonym, who knows how to get a story. With the help of her technologically skilled friend Miles Haley, she is currently on to a major scoop on a senator. Yet her tireless investigation is quashed by her editor after it turns out he is good friends with the senator in question. The end to her investigation makes Rowena angry and she quits her job. Not long after she runs into Grace, a childhood friend who has a potentially damning story to spill. She has been conducting an affair with prominent advertisement businessman Harrison Hill, who has subsequently broke it off after Grace threatened to expose him. She asks Rowena to look into it and see whether it could make a story, yet Rowena dismisses it at first, still angry about her scoop that she had and lost. A few days later, Grace is founded murdered which propels Rowena into finally looking into Hill. Employing her talents for discretion and enlisting Miles, she goes undercover in Hill’s workplace to see if she can find out whether Hill was responsible for Grace’s murder. As well as this, she tracks Hill on-line to a communications site, and subsequently lures him in under a false name. She hopes to trap him in both capacities. But soon enough, Rowena finds herself in over her head and with identities changing like rapid fire, who can she trust in a dangerous game of cat and mouse?
Now I must say that as a director James Foley is very talented, but even his expertise can’t save this shipwreck of a movie. It’s what you would call a losing battle, no director could bring such a film credibility or thrills. A convoluted and frankly nonsensical script is the main thing to blame for the failures of Perfect Stranger. Littered with embarrassingly bad dialogue and too many twists, it is a real car crash. And when everything leads up to the twist ending, it just becomes worse because none of it makes a lot if sense and emerges as just a complete waste of time. A glossy visual style can’t even compensate for these flaws because mostly it resembles so many other films and the technological approach has been done to death on CSI. There is also copious product placement here that just becomes boring and not at all useful with trying to bring at least something of worth from such a bad film as Perfect Stranger. The provided score aims for thrills and tension, yet can’t muster up either of them.
The talented cast assembled for Perfect Stranger can’t even make the movie worth watching. Halle Berry and Bruce Willis are talented stars, but even their best efforts are ruined by the abysmal plotting and execution. The same goes Giovanni Ribisi who provides crazy off the wall mannerisms to his character but because of the film he’s trapped in make it at all memorable. It is always a shame to see talented actors wasted in a movie like this that gives them frankly nothing to do and no decipherable characters to play.
Poorly scripted, mind-numbingly dull and with no life whatsoever, Perfect Stranger is a film to avoid with a capital A.