review for A Perfect Murder on AllMovie

A Perfect Murder (1998)
by Karl Williams review

Director Andrew Davis creates a suitably Hitchcock-inspired sense of menace and paranoia with this remake of 1954's Dial M for Murder, but he misses out on the element of fiendish fun in the best examples of Hitchcock. Always an actor with an eye for an interesting project, Michael Douglas finds welcome, subtle shadings in a character he's pretty much played before in films as diverse as Wall Street (1987) and The Game (1997), while Viggo Mortensen supplies another solid supporting character performance. Gwyneth Paltrow, who is just okay in the role of a trophy wife, is physically beautiful enough but too coltish and naïve for authenticity. These are mere quibbles; the real problem with A Perfect Murder (1998) is that it's not sufficiently gleeful in its presentation of its own lethal shenanigans. From the original Dial M for Murder to more modern examples of the genre such as Deathtrap (1982), the best domestic suspense thrillers are those that take a giddy pride in their ferociously sanguinary, fiendishly sexy anti-heroes and exponentially multiplying clever plot twists. Sad, muted, and presented as tragedy, A Perfect Murder is just not joyfully enthusiastic enough to pass muster.