Image copyright © by Marcus Trahan

A Perfect Murder


Up until about the halfway point, this is a remake of Hitchcock’s Dial M For Murder. I’ve never really understood the impulse to do a movie over, except possibly when the original was in another language, and even that is suspect. The great majority of the time, the new version is inferior to the old, often vastly so. But this is one of the better ones. If you haven’t seen that movie, it concerns a man (Ray Milland) who hires someone to kill his wife (Grace Kelly.) When the would-be killer arrives at their house, Grace manages to turn the tables, and kills him. From there the plots differ radically.

Michael Douglas is the rich husband, Gwyneth Paltrow is the wife, and Viggo Mortensen the hired assassin. I couldn’t say much more without a spoiler warning, and I don’t think I will, except to say that it all hung together fairly well.

It’s ridiculous, but I do have a weakness for elaborate capers, heists, cons, and ruses, though I believe that in real life they hardly ever happen. One thing I do know, however, is that in the movies they always go wrong. At one point Viggo actually asks Mike, “What if something goes wrong?” And Mike answers, “Nothing will go wrong.” And you just have to laugh out loud, don’t you? One of the few things the military is right about is the old saying that no battle plan survives first contact with the enemy. The more detailed, elaborate, foolproof, and “ingenious” a plan is, the more chances there are for something to go wrong. And something always does. You simply cannot plan for the random chances of bad luck, nor have enough Plan Bs to cover every eventuality.