Is it some sort of Oscar curse? Hilary Swank sleepwalked through The Reaping and now Halle Berry is traumatized in this techno-thriller.
Berry plays Rowena Price, an abrasive investigative reporter who suspects that the murder of her childhood friend, a party-girl named Grace (Nicky Aycox), under mysterious circumstances might be connected to a prominent, womanizing ad exec Harrison Hill (Bruce Willis). So with the help of a tech-savvy nerd, Miles Haley (Giovanni Ribisi) she goes undercover with not one but two separate identities. Shes Veronica, who initiates a cyber-flirtation with Hill. Shes also Katherine Pogue, a temp at Hills agency. But shes not the only one with a dual identity.
Director James Foley has always had a predilection for visually stylish film noir, as evidenced by Fear, The Chamber and After Dark, My Sweet, noting in the press notes, Everybody lies. It just depends on how big the lie is, and what the consequences of the lie are. But, this time, his helming simply gets overwrought.
Todd Komarnickis formulaic plot, based on a story by Jon Bokenkamp, is one youve seen before. Besides being derivative, it also makes little narrative sense, stretching vague connections to an extreme.
Beautiful Halle Berry, whose character is tortured by a childhood trauma, seems to be re-visiting Gothicka, albeit via Manhattan, appropriately clad for each of her identities by inventive costume designer Renee Kalfus, a patron of Victorias Secret. Propelled by ambition and careless about his adultery, Bruce Willis recalls remnants of his considerable seductive charm, while Giovanni Ribisi exudes manipulative emotional intensity. But theyre both Berrys foils. On the Granger Movie Gauge of 1 to 10, Perfect Stranger is a voyeuristic, pointless 5. As for the surprise conclusion, convoluted moral ambiguity can be very unsatisfying.