Tuesday, September 15, 2015
The Perfect Guy Review
A lot of the reviews that I have read suggest that this movie is bad because it is completely unoriginal and predictable. It's been a movie that's been made a hundred times before, so it's just uninteresting. This is an idea that I actually disagree with. I've been watching a lot of Hitchcock thrillers and a lot of those movies have very similar premises as well. Hitchcock seemed to love the idea of making a movie about a guy that has been accused of doing something he didn't do. He also seemed to love the idea of using just one set for the whole movie. But despite these similarities, most of his movies are still considered classics. The same idea applies to the TV show Criminal Minds. It's one of my favorite shows, but if I'm being honest, most of the episodes follow the same formula. Does that make it bad? No, it doesn't. It's still really good. So yes, the premise of The Perfect Guy is one we have seen before. Our main female makes the decision to breakup with her boyfriend of two years because he can't commit to marriage. Shortly after, she meets another man who initially seems like he is the perfect guy. But one day he snaps and that is enough for our girl to realize that she wants nothing to do with him. Well, turns out this guy is a crazy psychopath and is definitely not done with her. This is kind of a spoiler, but not really. All you have to do is look at the title of the movie and connect the dots that this is a thriller and not a romantic drama and you know exactly what's going to happen for the first half of the movie. It's how things are resolved that's the mystery here.
I'm not saying that all thrillers need to have a villain on par with Norman Bates. That's an impossible bar to match. But the general principles behind what makes Norman Bates such a good villain are the principles that thrillers should follow. Deep, complex villains that you often can relate to or feel bad for are a whole lot more interesting than random psychopaths going around killing people. Criminal Minds is a show where almost every episode has a fascinating villain. It's my personal favorite crime drama because instead of focusing on the who-done-it aspect like a lot of them do, it focuses on the psychology of a killer. Why do they do the things they do. What happened in their life to turn them into such an awful human being. A lot of them look like normal, average people that had to deal with things things in their past that aren't uncommon problems. Another great example is The Gift, which is currently one of my favorite movies from this year. I won't dive too deep into that, but Joel Edgerton's villain isn't just a random guy deciding to ruin another guy's life. There's a history to this guy that makes him a very deep, interesting character. I don't want to go into specifics about Michael Ealy in The Perfect Guy because that would require spoiling the movie, but these elements that I've talked about in these past couple of paragraphs are missing with Michael Ealy's character.
Another important element of a good thriller is a satisfying conclusion. The suspense builds and builds throughout the course of the movie and is leading towards one major event that happens at the end. Most of the time this ending is a twist that you don't see coming. When this twist occurs, you experience one of the best feelings that happens in movies, that of the mind being blown. You've been watching these events in the movie build up without really knowing what's going on and suddenly in one moment your whole perception changes and it's rather fantastic. If the twist isn't very good, the whole movie is ruined, but if the twist is done well, it makes the movie fantastic. M. Night Shyamalan is experienced in both of these situations, but a good example of twist done right comes with his latest movie, The Visit. A thriller doesn't always have to have a crazy twist, but it should at least have a fantastic conclusion. A final confrontation that has you at the edge of your seat. Once again, I'm not going to spoil The Perfect Guy by telling you what happens at the end, but this conclusion is not satisfying at all.
I hope this has been a satisfying review for you. It's a bit tricky because everything worth talking about comes in the second half of the movie. I want to dive into that and tell you exactly why that second half doesn't work, but I can't because I'm not going to spoil the movie for you. I could write a spoiler review, but this isn't the type of movie that I feel warrants a spoiler review, so instead I hope that my discussion of what makes a good thriller has been interesting enough and helps give you a general idea of why this movie doesn't work. In summary, a good thriller needs a compelling villain, interesting characters, a suspenseful build throughout that leads to a satisfying conclusion, and an element of realism both in terms of themes the movie discusses and the basic story line. The Perfect Guy isn't what I would call a bad movie. It has a good cast of actors who do a good job with what they are given. It's shot very well and has a good score. In terms of film making, there are a lot of positives. It's not one of those movies that is painful to watch or hard to sit through. It's just lacking in pretty much every category that I've discussed that makes a good thriller. Thus when I got to the end, I felt very unsatisfied. If you want to see a good thriller, go find The Gift. That might still be playing in a few theaters. If that's not available, go check out M. Night Shyamalan's new movie The Visit. That one isn't as good as The Gift, but it's satisfying in its own right. The Perfect Guy is not. Thus I am going to award the movie a 5/10.