New York, nowadays. Steven and Emily Taylor are a couple of very, very rich Americans who are, well, pretty unhappily married. We can’t even imagine how they ended up together. There’s absolutely no affection between them, and they seem to constantly piss each other off. It ain’t very surprising to learn that Emily is cheating on her distant yet controlling husband. She met this guy David, an attentioned, seductive artist. She’s even considering telling Steven and divorcing him. But what if he already knew ? And so begins an intricate web of lies, greed and double-crosses. Infidelity, jealousy, murder… Aren’t these pure Hitchcockian themes? Well, “A Perfect Murder” is actually a remake of one of the Master of Suspense’s classics, 1954’s “Dial M for Murder”. I personally haven’t seen the original, so I was new to the plot and I found it very interesting. I liked how the film keeps getting more and more complicated, as Steven’s supposedly perfect plan to bump off his young wife gradually turns back on him.
The movie was directed by Andrew Davis (“The Fugitive”), who’s a skilled craftsman even though he’s not, like, Hitchcock. This is an effective thriller, and Davis keeps the tension alive almost constantly. It’s very cool to try to figure who knows what and who’s screwing who. The film’s cast is quite good. Who’d be better at portraying a self-controlled yet rageful middle-aged millionaire than Michael Douglas? Come on, the guy looks like such a scumbag, you wonder if he’s acting or if it’s natural. If it’s all pretend, kudos to you, Michael. His female opposite sure ain’t as good. I don’t know, but I have problems with Gwyneth Paltrow. Is it me or is she incredibly bland and flavorless? Paltrow is so cold that you don’t even care all that much if she’s gonna get killed. But even though she’s a big drawback, the film remains an effective thriller.