Director: James Foley
Cast: Halle Berry, Bruce Willis, Giovanni Ribisi,
Gary Dourdan, Patti D'Arbanville, Clea Lewis
RunTime: 1 hr 49 mins
Released By: Columbia TriStar
Official Website: http://www.sonypictures.com/movies/perfectstranger/
Opening Day: 2 August 2007
Revolution Studios' sexy thriller "Perfect Stranger"
asks the question: how far would you go to keep a secret?
When investigative reporter Rowena Price (Halle Berry) learns
that her friend's murder might be connected to powerful ad
executive Harrison Hill (Bruce Willis), she goes undercover
with the help of her associate, Miles Hailey (Giovanni Ribisi).
Posing as Katherine, a temp at Hill's agency, and Veronica,
a girl Hill flirts with online, Rowena surrounds her prey
from all sides, only to discover that she isn't the only one
changing identities. The closer Rowena gets to finding the
truth, the more we see how far people will go to protect it.
The lead up to Perfect Stranger was novel, intriguing and
indeed promising. Using a relatively new form of viral marketing,
a few characters of the movie started blogs as well as posting
mini-trailers onto Youtube. These were so believable that
many actually thought that these were indeed real and not
However, few movies ever live up to their hype. Hollywood
thrillers will never be the same after Shyamalan, giving audiences
shocking twists and clever endings. And thus Perfect Stranger
is one such victim, possessing such banal writing and dialogue,
taking its audience as fools and including such a nauseating
twist for a coda that it not only falls to the wayside; it’s
so bad that few would ever remember it existed. One does wonder
if several endings were shot – and then a panel of uncaring
judges decided which ending the movie will take.
The basic premise of the story revolves around false identities
and the Internet. Rowena Price (Halle Berry) is a reporter
who tries to uncover the homicide of her childhood friend
with the assistance of Miles (Giovanni Ribisi). Suspecting
the murderer to be Harrison Hill (Bruce Willis). She then
plays a dangerous game of cat and mouse online (and off) with
Harrison, only to find out that she is not the only one changing
The movie tries to be clever and smart – yet all the
dialogue is sluggish and disengaging. Everything works towards
and is written towards the final exposition. There is hardly
any attempt at character development with the main actors
(much less the supporting cast) and one does not feel or care
for any of the characters. I really could not care less if
anything happened to any of them.
I worry for Halle Berry. From the time she appeared out of
the ocean in James Bond, and her Oscar for Monster’s
Ball, she was all set for stardom. Then she won that Razzie.
It was downhill for her since. In all her ‘three’
roles in Perfect Stranger, perhaps, no most definitely, she
would be up for her next. Bruce Willis comes across as more
comfortable here, but he has been playing roles like these
since the beginning of time. I just want to know, what were
going through these two heavyweights’ minds when they
read the scripts and signed on for this film?
(Far from perfect)
Review by Darren Sim