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Friday, December 21, 2007

The online dating and mating game

Perfect Stranger has the gorgeous Halle Berry playing the part of an investigative journalist, Rowena Price. She gets her hands on a good story of a handsome, happily married senator, who is staunchly against gays but he himself is one - albeit still in the closet. And Rowena has pictures of him cavorting with his male interns and so ofcourse he manages to stop that story from being printed.

She goes off in a huff and quits the job but then finds herself quickly trailing another influential and wealthy man, Harrison Hill (Bruce Willis) because she believes he lured her friend, Grace, to him via an online chat forum and they had a torrid weekend affair and he later dumps her. He then has her killed for blackmailing him about the affair...or so Rowena thinks.

Rowena gets on his tail but the truth is actually far from obvious. I didn't have too much of a problem with the script because there were a couple of red herrings that keeps the finger pointed away from the real killer, almost till the end.

But I don't understand why the director - James Foley - was shooting almost most scenes from below, where the audience gets too many views up Halle Berry's and Bruce Willis's nostrils. Not a good camera angle. Besides there were gratuitous scenes of nudity that the script just didn't require.

Everyone knows Halle Berry's got one of the best bodies on this planet and no one is really disputing it so there was really no need for a scene where she's looking through her lingerie drawer, while being stark naked. (Don't go rushing to see the movie for this scene because she's not facing the camera!). This scene just didn't need to be there.

Some actresses don't take care, over how they dress on screen, despite the enormous budgets allotted to precisely that - dressing them up. (See Meg Ryan in 'Proof of Life' and you'll know exactly what I mean...in a lot of scenes, she has not even bothered to wear a bra.) But Halle Berry looks hot in almost everything she wears and she (or her stylist) have picked good clothes that make her look stunning. Ofcourse, Berry is a very good dresser in reality as well.

Here again, in the world of a Hollywood film, office-goers working for an advertising agency all dress as if they are readying for a photo shoot. But, I guess we are willing to forgive because even the extras look good in their figure-hugging leather pants and coordinated jewellery and makeup.

All in all, it's a film that I wouldn't watch twice..but it does highlight the dangers of the online dating and mating game. You truly don't know who is the one you are chatting with anonymously in a chat room....these perfect strangers could become life partners or completely wreck lives. So, that's a message that screams loud and clear in this movie.

Written for www.moneycontrol.com


alok said...

Haven't got the chance to see the movie per se, but this post was an excellent read. Very well written-plz accept my best wishes for tht.

In the last para, however, online chat is assigned more negativity than it deserve -i think so. Each individual has to take care of oneself, making strangers friends/life partners and not wreckers!!

Manali said...

Hi Alok,

You might be right and I don't doubt that people do meet life partners online but I think they are still lucky if they meet the 'right' person because it's so difficult to meet a good person offline these days. My review just aims to point out the pros and cons. So, please don't take this personally!:)