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Millionaire industrialist Steven Taylor is a man who has everything but what he craves most: the love and fidelity of his wife. A hugely successful player in the New York financial world, he considers her to be his most treasured acquisition. But she needs more than simply the role of dazzling accessory. Brilliant in her own right, she works at the U.N. and is involved with a struggling artist who fulfills her emotional needs. When her husband discovers her indiscretion, he sets out to commit the perfect murder and inherit her considerable trust fund in the bargain. Written by
[ dark angel grace ]
I went into A Perfect Murder expecting to enjoy it, but I recognised the fact that I wouldn't be in for a great film. To be honest, I love thrillers like this as they offer a solid two hours (or so) of non-too taxing entertainment, and what's not to like about that? A Perfect Murder is an update of the Hitchcock classic 'Dial M For Murder', and while the film doesn't touch Hitchcock's in terms of how thrilling it is, this update has been well handled and despite losing things such as the claustrophobia and the tight plot, A Perfect Murder still does what you'd expect it to do. The plot has become more expansive for this update, but the filmmakers have still managed to keep it tight so that the plot is focused mainly on the characters as opposed to the actual crime. The plot follows a rich man (Michael Douglas) who discovers that his trophy wife (Gweneth Paltrow) is having an affair with an artist (Viggo Mortensen). When his business affairs start to go awry, he decides to commit the perfect murder so that he can inherit his wife's trust fund. However, as all of us Hitchcock fans know; there's no such thing as the perfect murder.
Michael Douglas was the absolute perfect choice for this role. He may get typecast as the slimy businessman often, but he does it so well! You can really believe that he wants to kill his wife. Gweneth Paltrow, who is often solid but never outstanding; and Viggo Mortensen, who is actually a good actor, join him and make up the three-piece central cast. Mortensen's performance here isn't awesome; but it's good, and hints at the sort of stuff that would be to come - such as a great turn in David Cronenberg's A History of Violence. Like most nineties thrillers, this one is very stylishly shot and there's a focus on the more steamy elements of the story. The locations used aptly convey the groups within society that the characters belong to and the film does a good job of setting its scenes. The central set piece is well executed, and the build up to it is well done also; but it has to be said that the film starts to fall apart a little after that. Still, A Perfect Murder never becomes boring and even during it's down time; the film still manages to be thrilling. As mentioned, this isn't as great as Hitchcock's version - but as modern remakes go - this certainly isn't a bad one, and I recommend it to anyone who enjoys a good thriller.
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