Thursday, May 19, 2011

“The Perfect Host” – Movie Review




The Spring Semester of my movie class concluded this week with a screening of the psychological thriller, “The Perfect Host”, starring David Hyde Pierce. 



After a bank robber scams his way into a man’s home to hide out, he tries to take advantage of him – but when the tables are turned, who will be the real victim?



Injured during a bank heist, Taylor prowls an upper middle class neighborhood in a Los Angeles suburb looking to fool some unsuspecting rube so he can lay low for a little while and collect himself.  Looking to evade the police and eventually meet up with his girlfriend, Taylor happens upon Warwick’s (Pierce) house while he is in the midst of preparing for a dinner party.  Convincing Warwick that he’s an acquaintance of a mutual friend currently out of town, Taylor is permitted entrance to his home on the ruse that he has met with misfortune on his return trip. 

Suspicious of Taylor’s story, Warwick questions him about various details, resulting in friction between the two men.  Warwick decides to defuse the situation by inviting Taylor to stay for his dinner party – but when a news report about the robbery is announced on the radio, Taylor admits that he’s the one the police are after and then threatens Warwick’s life, forcing him to cancel his dinner party.  Soon, however, Taylor comes to the realization that Warwick has drugged him and that now it’s he who has become Warwick’s hostage, causing Taylor to fear for his safety. 

After being threatened with torture and possible death, Taylor somehow manages to escape from Warwick’s house – but has he escaped from his captor?  Warwick won’t allow Taylor the opportunity to get away scot-free.  Instead, he decides to put the squeeze on Taylor, coercing him in return for his freedom.  But will Taylor surrender to Warwick’s demands?  And will the police somehow manage to uncover the evil plot that both have hatched and executed?




For David Hyde Pierce – Niles from the hit TV sitcom “Frasier” and star of many Broadway plays, including Monty Python’s “Spamalot” – his performance in the movie “The Perfect Host” can undoubtedly be characterized as a tour de force.  Appearing in almost every scene of the film, his vast acting talents are put on great display for all.  While much of this dark film is quite funny in its own twisted way, however, it is not without its own caveats – there are many contrivances and actions by its characters that force the viewer to suspend disbelief to the point that it feels as if that disbelief may in fact be a two-ton weight hovering precariously overhead, ready to drop. 

If you do choose to see this movie, make no mistake that it should be to watch Pierce’s portrayal of a psychopath the likes of which has rarely been captured on film.  Despite its shortcomings, “The Perfect Host” remains quite clever in terms of its many twists and turns – just don’t go into it with the expectation that you’re going to see something akin to the genius of Hitchcock.  In my movie reviews, I assiduously avoid including spoilers, despite the temptation; please believe me when I tell you that this is one of the more difficult reviews I’ve had to write in a long time because it is so ripe for spoilers.  You’ll just have to see the movie for yourself in order to appreciate that.  By the way, an actor by the name of Clayne Crawford plays Taylor and you’d swear he was a dead ringer for Ray Liotta.  And will you be able to recognize the cameo appearance by the 1970’s singing sensation Helen Reddy?

Following the screening, our instructor interviewed the star of the film, David Hyde Pierce.  Pierce spoke at great length about his background, saying that he started out studying at Yale with the hope of someday being a musician; however, after taking an acting class, the teacher and the experience inspired him to take his life in a different direction.  While he has had great success in television, Pierce claims that his love of working on the stage prevents him from wanting to return to starring in a regular TV series at any time in the near future – although he clearly refused to rule it out altogether. 



No comments:

Post a Comment

Speak Your Piece, Beeyotch!