A blog dealing with either the joy of cinema or the agony of cinema--nothing in between.
Saturday, July 23, 2011
The Perfect Host
A man has just robbed a bank and is on the run. His foot is severely cut and in need of medical attention and the police have his car's make, model, and plates. He stops at a house in an affluent neighborhood, rifles through the mail, and finds a postcard addressed to the house owner from a friend. John rings the doorbell and pretends to be a friend of the friend who sent the postcard and says he is in need. The owner of the house says he is about to have a dinner party but, being the consummate host, invites him in. The robber first ingratiates himself, then reveals who he is, taking the homeowner hostage and forcing him to cancel his dinner. However, the host has no intentions of actually doing so and soon a psychological game of cat and mouse ensues where neither man is exactly what he seems. The Perfect Host has an amateur feel to it, with its hazy picture and uninspired direction. Its story, which was creative at first quickly gets out of hand, throws credibility to the wind, and insists upon adding twist upon twist. The subplots involving the robber's motives for committing the robbery as well as the detectives investigation into it are handled too lightly. Yet, this mess of a movie is largely redeemed by the performance of David Hyde Pierce who is devilishly wonderful as the proper and maniacal host. Still, if you are intrigued by the premise I would recommend seeking out Sleuth, the 1972 film where Laurence Olivier and Michael Caine played a similar type of sinister game.