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:: Perfect Stranger

Perfect Stranger could have been an excellent film. It makes a big effort at creating an unexpected ending but in getting caught up with shock and awe, it left a confusing and frustrating thirst for more in the actual storyline. It's just not told as well as it could have been.

Rowena (Halle Berry) is an investigative reporter in New York City who is fresh out of a failed story where she gathered evidence of a Senator having sex with his male interns. When the power of the politician causes this story not to be published, she quits in disgust. So, feeling undermined again by a powerful man with friends in high places, Rowena then smells another story and goes undercover to seduce the prime suspect in a childhood friend's murder, a high-powered advertising executive Harrison Hill (Bruce Willis).

With the assistance of her high-tech IT wizard Miles (Giovanni Ribisi), she aims to expose Hill as the philandering murderer. She assumes new identities in life - as a temp in Hill's agency, and in an online relationship with Hill - harnessing the tools of the cyberworld in anattempt to gain justice. It seems to be right up Rowena's alley as the relationship turns sexual and delicate.

Ribisi's character Miles is very interesting in the turn of events. He is doing much of the dirty work, hacking his way into Hill's computer world to help set things up. His is a captivating role. Bruce Willis adds dimension to a character that is somewhat underwritten and almost abandoned. Halle Berry is well cast for her sensuality and manipulative abilities, but probably moves, as the story does, in a rollercoaster fashion. She looks beautiful on screen, however.

This is the type of film that twists and turns. The idea is very good and it didn't drag at all. But it didn't sparkle at the right times, despite a good cast and the hip technology. The story and the characters weren't developed enough, which is a pity because the potential for a riveting film was there.