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The Mass Media

11/27/23 pdf
November 27, 2023

Movie Plot is Stranger to No One

Bruce Willis playing Bruce Willis and Halle Berry feigning admiration.
Bruce Willis playing Bruce Willis and Halle Berry feigning admiration.

How far would you go to keep a secret? The tag line to “Perfect Stranger” promises the drama and suspense of any good thriller. However, like so many other cookie cutter mystery flicks, fails to follow through. Starring Halle Berry as Rowena, the always-sexy actress works as the main attraction for the movie. But when the plot begins to fizzle, all viewers are left to focus on is an overacting Berry dressed in gorgeous outfits.

A hopeful beginning allows moviegoers to be drawn in. The classic components pile together to form a feasible plot. Rowena works as a journalist who got benched by her newspaper for attempting to expose a political scandal. Being the self-righteous woman that she is, Rowena refuses to be silenced and quits instead. Directly after this turn of events, the now-freelance writer encounters her old friend Grace, played by Nicki Aycox. Not until much later do we learn of the importance as well as the nature of the friendship the two girls had.

Grace presents Rowena with information about Harrison Hill, played by Bruce Willis, a prominent married businessman who had been having an affair with Grace. As can be predicted, within the next few days, Grace winds up dead. Director James Foley leads us through an investigative report with clues along the way that only those already aware of the ending could pick up on.

Complete with an unexpected twist in the ending, followed by another twist, and hey, why not another to really make it interesting, “Perfect Stranger” has all the components of a thriller that’s sure to fail. Unfortunately, with regards to that promise, it does follow through. There is a moral to this less-than-mediocre film, if you care to look for one. Blackmail is bad, and it more than likely will get you killed, especially in this box office disaster.

If you and a group of friends are dying for a scary movie to go to on a Friday night, my suggestion is to go to a local video store. Chances are you’ll find much better quality movies and at only a fraction of the cost. If you do decide to venture out to the Cineplex down the street, there are worse options than “Perfect Stranger.”

Though the plot and acting leave something to be desired, the point being that there is a plot, it is at least one that makes relative sense. There are a few congruency issues thrown in that skeptical viewers have no choice but to sigh and acknowledge, it is only movie, but there are entertaining aspects as well.

The most enjoyable part about thriller-mysteries is undoubtedly the ending where everything unravels and the audience either discovers the master plan, or what has happened to make things turn out the way they did. Though highly implausible, I was drawn back into the film as the ending was exposed, only to shake my head at the outcome.

If you are in the mood for a sexy Berry, a leering Willis and that guy who played Phoebe’s brother in “Friends,” plus drinking, reporting and even a little death, this is be your ideal movie. On the other hand, if you’re looking for an intellectual, in depth and fascinating movie, I am afraid you might have to wait for an independent film festival to find all of that.