A Perfect Murder


I’m not quite sure why I watched this film. I knew I would be annoyed.

The problem is that A Perfect Murder belongs in that camp of Hollywood remakes that didn’t need to be made. I mean, Dial M For Murder was pretty much perfect, why remake it? (I haven’t seen Gus Van Sant’s Psycho for this very reason.)

I’m not sure what I expected, but I was quite bored throughout the set up because I’ve seen Hitchcock’s version of the stage play so many times. There are some changes made, most noticeably the house is much bigger than the three room set we had for the original film, but none of them are for the better.

What do you mean, you prefer Liv??Most disappointingly, the investigation doesn’t run along the same lines as the original film. Hitchcock’s film felt like it was being played out as some kind of chess game, opponents trying to guess their adversary’s next move. In this film it is dumbed down into some kind of lover’s tiff.

The film was sexed up a bit, and this did give it a modern edge. And to tell you the truth, if I had seen this film in isolation, I probably wouldn’t have been that annoyed with it. The performances are all great, even if a pre-Aragorn Viggo looks kinda silly without a beard hiding his dimple. By the way, has anyone seen Douglas play a poor person? He only seems to play rich dudes. I suppose he is quite a good method actor, in that respect.

The film also contains the fabulous David Suchet, who I’ve enjoyed ever since I saw him do Hercule Poirot in the 90’s TV series.

Now we get to the Great Travesty in A Perfect Murder. I thought that there was something weird about the final shot in the film. There is an emphasis on the delivery of the line, and something in the look that is shared between the two characters. I thought it was strange, until I saw the alternate ending on the DVD. Now this original ending was obviously changed with the aide of a re-shoot, and probably a result of studios bending to the whims of test screening results. After I watched the original climax, suddenly the final moment of the film made sense. This is totally unforgivable, as the original ending at least gave this capable yet ordinary remake an edge. (An edge, not to be confused with The Edge… cos then there’d be Anthony Hopkins and a big bear involved… and that’d just be weird.)

If it weren’t for the butchered ending, this film would have received a higher rating.

Rating: 2 stars
Review by Stuart Wilson, 21st April 2004
Hoopla Factor: 1 stars

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