Michael Douglas, Gwyneth Paltrow, Viggo Mortensen, David Suchet, Sarita Choudhury, Michael P. Moran, Novella Nelson, Constance Towers, David Eigenberg, Will Lyman, Maeve McGuire, Stephen Singer, Adrian Martinez, Laurinda Barrett, Aideen O'Kelly, Reed Birney, Robert Vincent Smith
When millionaire industrialist Steven Taylor (Michael Douglas) learns that his wife Emily (Gwyneth Paltrow) is having an affair and is in love with an artist, David (Viggo Mortensen), he approaches the man and sets out to commit the perfect murder. Unfortunately for Steven, the perfect plan doesn't go as planned.
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
I know I should have watched Hitchcock's first, but I think this way I'll be able to give the film an impartial review. And it really needs one.
Atrociously written, A Perfect Murder is an average thriller whose only source of suspense is the tons of surprise events.
Spending time and money trying to make a beautiful looking film populated with good actors doesn't have a point if you don't take some time for the writing, which is the most important part. And here, the lack of a good script pops out like an oasis in a desert.
First let's talk about plot holes. Why would Emily leave a hot bath to answer the phone? I would never do that. Why is Steven so easily dismissed as a suspect? The phone call doesn't prove he didn't hire someone to do the dirty work. Why does it matter than Emily's ring his in David's loft? If he blackmailed Steven, I suppose he would have copies of those photos. And lastly, when Steven and David meet in Washington Square Park, David says "commemorative copy", which basically sells out the ending.
The characters are another major issue. I don't know if this was just me, or the director wanted it to happen, but I've found myself cheering for Douglas's character. I know he was the villain, but I really wanted him to get away with the murder(s). Maybe it's also the fault of Paltrow's unlikable characters. Also, I don't get why we need to know Emily speaks all those languages. But the real problem is the detective. The way he is introduced suggests that he'll have an important role, but then he disappears, only to appear again later, only for a moment.
Michael Douglas once again proves what an actor he is, and deserves all the credits for making you feel sympathy for his character. Gwyneth Paltrow gives a quite convincing performance as Emily. Viggo Mortensen is also good in the role of the artist/lover. But, pairing Michael Douglas and Gwyneth Paltrow as the leads was not a good idea. There is no chemistry between them. Same goes for Paltrow and Mortensen, as their love affair doesn't exactly transpire passion.