The Not-So Perfect Host

Last night we watched The Perfect Host.  When I saw this movie pop-up on imdb I was instantly intrigued, it came out to a few selected theaters a while back, but we don’t really go out to movies so I waited for it on NetFlix.  The basic premise is that a guy who just robbed a bank needs a place to hide for the night.  He finds himself in a nice neighborhood and on his second try of conning his way into a house he meets Warwick, who is about to have a dinner party.  Warwick is played by David Hyde Pierce, his character has initial similarities of the character he played in “Frasier”, Dr. Niles Crane-but he turns out to be psycho.  A yummy premise to any old “Frasier” fan.  I usually only talk about movies I like, because I don’t like to knock on someone’s hard work, but I have mixed feeling about this one.  I am happy I got to see it, but it isn’t going on my DVD wishlist.

To be honest I enjoyed a good portion of the movie. David Hyde Pierce was excellent, the tension built relatively well, and the cinematography was great.  I am pleased to say there is an aspect of the movie that I did not initially catch on the preview, now watching it again they hint at it a little.  I have a thing about giving the whole story away in the preview.  It was a good aspect to keep hidden, you thought you were going to see one type of move and then got another.  But it went somewhere I didn’t want it go after the door bell rang.

This was originally based off of an Australian short.  The director said he thought about it for five years and then they shot the American version in 17 days.  Sometimes that combination is great, but this time I think it didn’t work.

General Spoilers:

I am not going to give away specifics, but I felt that they overly developed the characters.  They gave too many explanations of why the characters were like they were.  I think a villain/psychopath/ bad guy is much more terrifying when you don’t really know why (but hints are still good).  Think Hannibal Lector in Silence of the Lambs or Jaws for that matter, less is more.  You know Warwick is obviously a psychopath, do we have to know all of the particulars?  The reveal of his day job also did not produce the “oh, wow” moment I think it was meant to bring.  Also with other developments later, it was not believable. I did glance over the message boards on imdb and saw some interesting comments about how he could have still been “evolving” and that is why he made some of the dumb choices he made… but still.  There seem to be about four chapters too many in this story.

The change of the bank robber having noble causes for his robbery felt to be a bit at odds at the character we had seen for the first half of the movie-probably less flash backs and twists to that plot line would have made it better.  I like the whole whole the hunter becomes the hunted thing, but both characters were all over the place.  I liked having the characters living in the gray zone, no real perfection to their morals.  The movie kept them there for a little bit but then flipped them in a way that I almost lost interest.

Overall I give it a 6.5 out 10, and that is mostly for David Hyde Pierce’s performance and the fact it made me think about it and what I would have done with the same premise.  My advice is to stop the movie when the doorbell rings the next morning, savor that ending for a few days, then write to me and I’ll tell you how it really ends.

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