Perfect Stranger

Rotten Tomatoes shows that critics are placing Perfect Stranger under citizens’ arrest.

Religious-press critics agree that this one’s a waste of time and talent.

Commenting on director James Foley, Christian Hamaker (Crosswalk) calls Perfect Stranger “a sad case of an artist whose career once seemed promising. Two of the director’s early films, After Dark My Sweet and At Close Range, garnered attention for their stylish look and moody performances. The filmmaker peaked shortly thereafter, way back in 1992, with Glengarry Glen Ross, an electrifying interpretation of a David Mamet play, with strong performances from an all-male cast. … The director’s more recent output has been undistinguished, at best, and all of the star power behind Perfect Stranger doesn’t change that.”

Harry Forbes (CNS) writes, “Chalk up another woeful career choice for Halle Berry, whose proven talent does not apparently extend to knowing when to say ‘no.’ Her latest vehicle, Perfect Stranger, is a patently trashy, utterly nonsensical thriller.”

Lisa Ann Cockrel (CT Movies) warns us: “…when the twists start twisting, I, quite frankly, didn’t care about the outcome. It’s not exactly the experience one hopes to have 90 minutes into a ‘who done it?’ movie. And it wasn’t surprising to learn that the director filmed three different endings to the movie, each with a different character as the killer. The plot is so ridden with holes that anyone could have done it.”

She notes that the film was written by Todd Komarnicki, a Christian who also wrote Elf. “In a 2003 interview with Christianity Today, Komarnicki emphasized the importance of telling a good story: ‘We have a savior who was a storyteller, [so] I think there is great value in story … I think it’s a very powerful tool. Certainly, like any tool, it can be misused.’ He concluded by saying that ‘storytelling is what makes the movie business work.’ Too bad it didn’t work for this movie. A typical episode of Law and Order is less ridden with cliché (which is saying something, given that the series is about as formulaic as it gets) and more satisfying.”

Greg Wright (Past the Popcorn) says:

The film features a storyline with sexually abused children, perverts with online aliases, women who play along with such men for their own purposes, and ‘To Catch A Predator’-style busts. It’s got same-sex-for-influence intern-politico scandals. It’s got brutal sex crimes, rough sex, and “gee-Mr.-Springer-I-just-don’t-know” DNA tests. How topical. How current. How hip.

And the film has nothing intelligent to say about any of this. It just plays it all for entertainment value, hoping that the audience gets some kind of prurient thrill from sitting in on Internet dirtytalk and runaway sexual obsession.

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