Perfect Murder, A [1998]

The husband (Michael Douglas) is a currency trader whose portfolio value is going right down the drain. The wife (Gwyneth Paltrow) is the heiress to a $100 million fortune. The marriage is not a happy one, but the promise of long-term affluence keeps them together. The wife pursues an affair with an artist (Viggo Mortenson) who gives her all the passion she doesn't get at home, and when the husband finds out, well ... someone's going to pay with their life. Who will the unlucky one be? We wouldn't dare spoil the elegant plot twists of this devious thriller, but it's well known that Douglas excels at portraying greedy characters with ice in their veins. Here, it's easy to assume that Douglas has pulled off, as the title implies, a killing that nobody will ever pin on him. But this is the kind of glossy thriller (loosely inspired by Alfred Hitchcock's Dial M for Murder) that delights in disrupting your expectations, so it grabs your attention right up to the final scene. It's a bit too cold to really draw you in (hey, these are not very nice people we're dealing with here!), but with its able cast and stylish direction by Andrew Davis, this less-than-perfect murder thriller is still definitely worth a look. The widescreen Special Edition DVD includes audio commentary by Michael Douglas, Andrew Davis, and producer Peter McGregor Scott, an alternate ending deleted from the finished film, and sketches by the film's costume designer. --Jeff Shannon

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