New Delhi: The central character in this thriller/crime/drama flick, is neither the sexy 40-plus Halle Berry nor the aging but still retaining ample feline grace, Bruce Willis; but the transformative medium of communication - e-mail.
What cyber technology can do in terms of invading people’s lives and setting in motion a systematically chilling sequence of real life events, can be seen in ample measure in Perfect Stranger.
How anonymous identities on the web merge with real personas in a build-up to an unpredictable climax is attributed to the clever machinations of super hacker Miles Haley, played by Giovanni Ribisi.
His is an intelligent portrayal of a complex character who can wear different masks as he helps his associate Rowena Price (Halle Berry), a New York city investigative reporter don cyber avatars that bring her closer to her prey- the high flying adman Harrison Hill (Bruce Willis). His sexploits precede him and his marital status is the discussion of most social dos. She suspects him of murdering her best friend Grace.
Posing as Katherine, a ‘temp’, Berry gains access to his office and makes sure she catches his roving eye through some ‘shapely’ maneouvres. What follows is a covert game of online cat-and-mouse.
Switching identities and alternating between being Rowena, Katherine and Veronica, a girl Hill flirts with online, she zeroes in on her prey but not before stumbling onto the fact that she is not the only one changing identities.
Harnessing devastatingly effective tools of cyberspace in an attempt to nail her victim, her trail highlights the extent people will go to, to keep a secret and protect their identity.
A knotty affair ensues with the lives of the three main protagonists getting inextricably linked together. The movie gives the word ‘stranger’ an altogether new connotation as it asks in the tagline, “what would you do to keep a secret?” While the obvious answer would be “anything” the movie tells you “how” in a macabre way.
It is the kind of movie that may keep you glued to your seat, but not one which you carry with you after you have left the multiplex. One says multiplex because it is made for a certain kind of audience that can relate to the theme and lives of the characters. Adult viewing with some violent images, shots of haunting child abuse and a liberal dousing of f….words, it may qualify for gripping viewing in a week when there aren’t any other exciting movie options.
It is the first film that has been shot exclusively in and around ground zero, the site where the New York World Trade Centre stood before the 7/11 terror attacks and has some nice shots of the Manhattan skyline.
Director: James Foley