Wednesday, 26 October 2011

The Perfect Host Review

Going in, all I knew about this movie was that some guy on the run from the law cons his way into David Hyde Pierce's house and interrupts plans for a dinner party.  I thought it would be sort of like that movie where Sinbad ended up at Phil Hartman's house or the Peter Sellers movie, "The Party."  Imagine my surprise to find that this is not a comedy at all but a very twisted psychological thriller.

The premise had a lot of potential.  There's a guy who robbed a bank and is looking to lay low and heal his wounded foot.  He ends up in the house of a very twisted and disturbed man who holds dinner parties with imaginary people.  And then it just goes off in weird and twisted places.  I can't really tell you a whole lot more about the plot without giving things away.  The robber is forced to participate in the charade or face some pretty serious consequences.  The movie never lives up to its potential.  It could have gotten very dark and, while it does start going in that direction, it never really gets there.

Through the whole film, they throw a twist at you that derails the film a bit.  It's sort of like the General Lee going on two wheels.  You think it's going to fall over but they manage to get it back on track.  They keep going around these curves and, each time, they bring it back and the viewer gets back into what's going on.  But, each time they swerve, they go a bit farther over until, finally, they derail it to the point of no return.  The last 15 minutes or so become this forced "tie it all up" thing that really makes no sense and does not fit at all within the theme of the film.

There are basically two characters: John Taylor (the robber on the run) and Warwick Wilson (the nutjob).  Taylor is a very poor character.  Through confusing flashbacks and exposition from tacked on detective cop scenes, they try to make him some kind of reformed criminal who is actually trying to do the right thing.  There are too many layers to the character and, as a result, none of them are believable.  The Warwick character, on the other hand, is quite well done.  He's the one who should have all of the layers considering he's a bats**t psychopath.  But he's really a quite shallow and simple character.  This comes across well through a very strong performance from David Hyde Pierce.  At the start, I was seeing nothing but Niles Crane.  But, once they do their first "swerve" he takes the character to some pretty dark and twisted places.

The performance from Pierce is not enough to save this movie though.  I recommend that you don't see it.  You may want to just to know what the twists and such are.  And, if the curiosity is too much for you, it's only an hour and a half long.  So you won't be wasting too much time.  But, ultimately, I'd say it isn't really worth it.

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