A Perfect Murder 1998 Movie Scene Michael Douglas as Steven Taylor drinking a martini with his wife

A Perfect Murder [1998]

As mainstream as they come, A Perfect Murder is a perfect bite-sized thriller definitely worth watching. Incredibly balanced, it’s not too sleazy or too complex. It’s too engaging or too dull counting on the intriguing basic premise to keep your attention. We will be following a dynamic trio consisting of one wife, one husband, and one sexy lover. With infidelity already on the table, murder is the cherry on top of this delicious crime cake. As such, it reminded me of another, more erotic thriller Unfaithful starring Diane Lane, Richard Gere, and Olivier Martinez. 

The cast of A Perfect Murder is equally formidable with such stars as Michael Douglas, Gwyneth Paltrow, and Viggo Mortensen. We will also get the opportunity to see the imposing David Suchet in action although his role is quite a small one. This is a movie in which you keep expecting something more to happen and then it doesn’t. Oddly enough, this is a remake of Hitchcock’s 1954 film Dial M for Murder featuring some rather drastic changes.

Of course, it doesn’t even come close to the original or the play upon which is based on. I think you should look at it independently of all these labels. A Perfect Murder is that breezy crime thriller you can play late at night fully knowing you’ll be able to finish it that night. The performances are also neutral and almost unremarkable. For such a sizzling concept of morally ambiguous characters, it’s surprising that Suchet’s detective Karaman felt like the most potent character. Although I will admit Douglas was quite creepy.

It’s like the whole subgenre was running out of steam by the end of the nineties. This is why we got a slew of mediocre nineties thrillers like Kiss The Girls, Best Laid Plans, or Double Jeopardy. Compare those movies with, for example, David Fincher’s The Game also starring Michael Douglas. Released just a year earlier, it’s a much more powerful and engaging thriller that will keep you on the edge of your seat ’till the end.

We find Emily Taylor passionately making love with a struggling artist David in his loft. Her husband Steven doesn’t know anything about the affair but Emily is thinking of leaving him and telling him the truth. Something that’s going to become much more pressing when he shows up at a party and starts talking to her lover David. Things start to get progressively more complex from this point.

The movie starts plotting almost immediately and keeps this brisk pace until the end. We don’t dwell too much on the scenes using whatever momentum there is to keep the story going. The story that’s brimming with potential because of its moral implications. What would you do in that type of situation? Are you capable of such a plot? Maybe some of your friends are the perfect type? These are the questions that will add a bit of vibrancy to A Perfect Murder, an imperfect remake.

Director: Andrew Davis

Writers: Frederick Knott, Patrick Smith Kelly

Cast: Michael Douglas, Gwyneth Paltrow, Viggo Mortensen, David Suchet, Sarita Choudhury

Fun Facts: Michael Douglas is 28 years older than Gwyneth Paltrow.


IMDb Link: https://www.imdb.com/title/tt0120787/

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