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A Perfect Murder starring Gwyneth Paltrow, Viggo Mortensen and Michael Douglas

A Perfect Murder starring Michael Douglas, Gwyneth Paltrow and Viggo Mortensen. image via

A Perfect Murder starring Michael Douglas, Gwyneth Paltrow and Viggo Mortensen. image via

Emily (Gwyneth Paltrow) is married to the older and successful businessman Steven (Michael Douglas). From the outside, they are the perfect couple. However, the reality is very different. Steven is having serious financial problems with his business and Emily is cheating on Steven with a guy who couldn’t have been more opposite: passionate, young and struggling- handsome artist David (Viggo Mortensen).

Emily doesn’t know that Steven knows. Steven knows all about the affair and David’s shady past (another thing Emily has no idea about) so he comes up with the perfect plan that will rid him off his financial troubles and a cheating wife: he meets David and asks him to kill Emily, in exchange for half a million dollars. David is trapped: if he goes to Emily or police about this, Steven will prove how David uses rich women to get their money. Convicted before, David will face serious jail time and probably they wouldn’t believe him anyway. So he agrees. Steven plans the night of the murder meticulously. However he might have underestimated David’s feelings for Emily or at least overestimated his capacity to commit murder: things go wrong, Emily survives. Who will the game? David or Steven? And can Emily survive again?


1998’s A Perfect Murder is a remake of Alfred Hitchcock’s Dial M for Murder (1954). I haven’t seen the original so I can’t make comparisons. But despite the “flaws” of the characters (and I do realize that without the “flaws”, there wouldn’t be the same story), I enjoyed the film. The music, direction, setting and the acting are all decent and the casting is just perfect. From the smart homicide detective David Suchet that forms a bond with the graceful Emily, to the absolutely gorgeous Viggo Mortensen, the cold  smart Michael Douglas.. This is a pretty film. It is not the smartest or the best thriller around, but it is enjoyable enough.


As for the “flaws” of these characters, well I actually mean stupid actions. So I am listing them below. Mind the spoilers.

Emily (Gwyneth Paltrow)

  • Well, I have seen younger women marry older men for money, but this younger woman is actually richer than the man- or at least will be. The age gap is huge, and from her lover and way of life, Emily doesn’t seem like the girl to be attracted to Steven’s type. But let’s suppose Steven acted all sweet and seduced her in the beginning. Fine. You don’t love the guy, you are loaded, you don’t have kids and you are staying in the marriage because…??? Oh, and if you are about to inherit $100,000,000, you sign a pre-nup! It is a no-brainer. I am a romantic but you just need to be an idiot if you are not signing something when that much is involved, even though your man seems rich on his own.
  • Emily thought David didn’t know about the money. Great. It is one thing thinking he is in love; it is another thinking he wouldn’t have had a clue about who she is. She didn’t need to think he was in it for the money, but she should have considered he had a clue. So Emily was gullible and stupid way before she got attacked.
  • And so what David turned out to be a criminal? How does that justify her warming up to Steven, whose cold attitude drew her to David in the first place (I am not saying cheating is OK. But it is stupid to believe a guy who has been doing business illegally, is going bankrupt because of it, hid it from you and seems OK with your affair). No sane man will forgive Emily without at least one angry/emotional tantrum, and definitely not Steven.
  • What if Steven overpowered Emily in the last struggle and killed her? Yeah, confronting him like that usually only works in the typical Hollywood endings.

Steven (Michael Douglas)

  • So of all the contracted and professional killers Steven could have hired, he chose the boyfriend. Great but what about his feelings?  Whether it is open to discussion David was in love with Emily or not, you can’t trust your wife’s lover to kill her!
  • And again with Steven hiring David. Of course David doesn’t trust him and will try to screw  over if he gets a shot.  If anything, you cost the guy his lover and his chance to have much more money.
  • And since he is capable of murder, he should have come up with a plan where he murders Emily and gets away with it. No honor among con men, Steven!

David (Viggo Mortensen)

  • And he should have either went in to kill Emily himself, or at least played the tape for her and beg her forgiveness about the con. And Emily could forgive him, with him being honest and all.
  • Great job making a deal with a man who wants to kill his own wife for money. And great job trying to con a man without letting know he will be busted if he kills David anyway.

6/10 for the overall movie.

7/10 for actors.

Currently 6.4 on IMDB

  • Fun note: Viggo Mortensen is one talented man. He is also a jazz singer, poet, horseman and a painter. The paintings in David’s studio were done by him. Oh, and he also speaks multiple languages frequently:      Danish, Spanish and French. He is also pretty good with Swedish and Norwegian too.

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4 Responses to “A Perfect Murder starring Gwyneth Paltrow, Viggo Mortensen and Michael Douglas”

  1. Patricia Rodrigues says:

    I haven’t seen the original movie either, but I guess this version was a lot better. The cast was perfect !! I loved the fun note, Pinar. Apparently, Viggo is a very talented man…

  2. zoey says:

    Thanks for commenting, Patricia.
    I am not really good with old movies (30s,40s,50s) so yeah, I have a feeling I wouldn’t have much fun with it.

    Yep, Viggo is too talented for his own good, lol:)

  3. stella says:

    i agree on the talent part!

    hey, gwyneth paltrow is great too btw!

  4. zoey says:

    oh yeah, she is fantastic. but emily is just a little “slow” with the brains part. love might be blind, and I am guessing lust is blinder;)

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