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A Perfect Murder (Special Edition)

4.2 out of 5 stars 207 customer reviews

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(Nov 03, 1998)
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Editorial Reviews

Product Description

A powerful Wall Street power broker tries to get his wife's lover to murder her.
Genre: Suspense
Rating: R
Release Date: 8-FEB-2005
Media Type: DVD


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

Special Features

  • Alternate Unused Ending, with and without commentary by director Andrew Davis
  • Costume Design Sketches

Product Details

  • Actors: Michael Douglas, Gwyneth Paltrow, Viggo Mortensen, David Suchet, Sarita Choudhury
  • Directors: Andrew Davis
  • Format: Multiple Formats, AC-3, Anamorphic, Closed-captioned, Color, Dolby, Full Screen, Special Edition, Widescreen, NTSC
  • Language: English (Dolby Digital 5.1), French (Dolby Digital 5.1)
  • Subtitles: English, French
  • Region: Region 1 (U.S. and Canada only. Read more about DVD formats.)
  • Aspect Ratio: 1.85:1
  • Number of discs: 1
  • Rated:
  • Studio: Warner Home Video
  • DVD Release Date: November 3, 1998
  • Run Time: 108 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (207 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: 6305128928
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #50,331 in Movies & TV (See Top 100 in Movies & TV)
  • Learn more about "A Perfect Murder (Special Edition)" on IMDb

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

By Craig Connell on May 4, 2006
Format: DVD
Boy, here's one re-make I thought was far superior to the original ("Dial M For Murder," with Ray Milland, Grace Kelly and Bob Cummings.) In this film, the stars are Michael Douglas, Gwyneth Paltrow and Viggo Mortensen.

The best part of this film may not be the story, or the acting, both of which keep you glued to the screen, but the stylish photography and sets.. They look magnificent, mainly the apartment of the the two leads. I was constantly awed by how good this film looks. The DVD transfer is beautiful.

I also prefer the sequel because it has more twists and is complex enough to thoroughly enjoy every 3-4 years. Also fun are the short speeches each character gives on occasion, usually when they smugly think they have the upper hand. Each time that happens, their antagonist winds up going one up on them! There isn't much action in here but when it occurs, it's very intense.

The only thing that annoys me - unfortunately it's a big one - is the ending in which I don't believe justice totally prevailed. I can't wrote much more without spoiling it for those who have not seen this. One of the parties comes out looking like a 'an innocent victim" and that person was hardly a "saint." If all the parties had received just due, it would have been more satisfying and I would have rated this a '5' without hesitation.
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Format: DVD
For the record, "A Perfect Murder" is a remake of "Dial M for Murder," Alfred Hitchcock's maliciously clever but hopelessly stagebound adaptation of the popular play by Frederick Knott. But it is great deal more fun to view the new movie as a sequel to "Wall Street," with Michael Douglas once again in top form as a ruthlessly manipulative financial whiz. Imagine Gordon Gekko just a few years past his prime as a high-flying corporate raider, with a trophy wife who's just beginning to tarnish, and you'll get the idea. The big difference is, this time, instead of extolling the virtues of greed, Douglas' character is willing to consider the benefits of an even deadlier sin.
In "A Perfect Murder," which Andrew Davis ("The Fugitive") has directed from a screenplay by Patrick Smith Kelly, Douglas is Steven Taylor, a Manhattan-based millionaire industrialist who has over-extended himself while playing the international money markets. Worse, he knows that his most prized possession -- Emily (Gwyneth Paltrow), his radiantly beautiful and conspicuously younger wife -- is drifting out of his jealously tight grip.
Right from the start, the audience knows that Emily is having an affair with David (Viggo Mortensen), a broodingly hunky artist who invites her to his fashionably seedy downtown loft for afternoon delights. Trouble is, Steven also knows about the affair. This, too, is made clear very early in the story, as Steven and Emily share a drink in their luxurious apartment before attending a gallery opening. Despite all their polite chit-chat, there is an edge of menace in the air. When Steven abruptly suggests that she wear another dress to the occasion, his words have the unmistakable sound of a command.
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Format: DVD
Having never seen the Alfred Hitchcock classic DIAL M FOR MURDER, I have absolutely nothing with which to compare this film, except the slick mystery/suspense thrillers of the 1980's and '90's. In this category, A PERFECT MURDER (1998) ranks among the better ones.
With Michael Douglas at his sordid best, Gwyneth Paltrow in the middle of her breakout year (doing films such as GREAT EXPECTATIONS--another re-make, SLIDING DOORS, HUSH and finally, SHAKESPEARE IN LOVE, which resulted in a well-deserved Oscar statue for her) and still-rising Viggo Mortensen, the screenplay by Patrick Smith Kelly fits each of these actors' personas so neatly that you would swear the words were written with these actors fully in mind. Add in the lush photograghy, which successfully captures the deep, brooding tone of the film and you've got a real winner here.
Indoor shots in the townhouse where Douglas and Paltrow's characters live reveal tall ceilings and lots of sharp, sinister brown and orange colors. Shots in Mortensen's artist's loft display soft blue-gray hues and wide spaces filled with work (as opposed to the townhouse which is filled solely with material "things"). The dialogue fits each character and remains true. Even with all the twists and turns in the plot (expected in films like this, anyway), the story remains interesting and does not feel contrived.
It's amazing that Warner Bros. waited a full 5 years after this film's initial release to put it out on DVD. I think the wait was well worth it--both the sound and picture quality on this disc are excellent.
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Format: DVD
In many ways this is a remake of "Dial M for Murder", the classic Hitchcock thriller, but if you haven't seen Dial M yet, watch this one first. There are many differences in the storyline - enough to make each stand alone as its own separate movie.

The movie really has only four characters - currency trader Stephen (Michael Douglas), his wealthy trophy-wife Emily (Gwyneth Paltrow), and the artistic lover David (Viggo Mortensen) - plus a few brief appearances by Mohamed (David Suchet). Interestingly, you would think with so few characters that each would come across as complex and well developed - but the focus here is on the intricate plot and the gorgeous sets. The actors are all of course brilliant, but they are playing characters that are very stereotypical.

Douglas delights in his villain role and mentions this many times in the commentary - that it means he can go the theatrical and dramatic route. You can see in the beginning of the movie - he plays Stephen as a very cool, intelligent man who plots out everything he wants in life, and then gets it. You can understand how he seduced and wooed the naive Emily and got her to marry him without signing a prenup. Now he is going to take advantage of her affair to get rid of her, and get the money.

Viggo plays the sleazy lover / artist who is actually a serial seducer, who has been in jail twice for taking advantage of rich women. He lives in a large loft cluttered with his artwork. Of interesting note is that Viggo actually painted all of his own artwork - and painted it right in that loft. He put a lot of work into becoming his character, and the Polish residents of that area of New York actually did think he was an artist.
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