Top positive review
21 people found this helpful
on 7 September 2003
This glossy, stylish, and elegant remake of Alfred Hitchcock's 1954 film, "Dial M for Murder", forges its own identity, as it leaves behind the theatrical underpinnings of the original film. Screenwriter Patrick Smith Kelly offers up an intelligent, well written script with some surprising twist and turns. Beautifully directed by Andrew Davis (The Fugitive, Under Siege, The Package), the film delicately weaves its ingenious plot.
Steven Taylor (Michael Douglas) is a driven, wall street tycoon whose wife, Emily Bradford Taylor (Gwyneth Paltrow) is an heiress, fabulously wealthy in her own right. They live in a lavishly appointed apartment in Manhattan. The only fly in their ointment, or so it seems, is that Emily is having a love affair with a down and out artist, David Shaw (Viggo Mortensen).
It seems, however, that there is a dark side to the relationship between Steven and Emily, as Emily is decidedly unhappy with it. Moreover, unbeknownst to Emily, her artist boyfriend is not all that he appears to be nor is her husband, Steven, who is not as rich as he purports to be. Apparently, a series of bad investments have left him with margin calls that are set to leave him on the brink of bankruptcy. What's a guy to do?
Well, if you are like Steven Taylor, a ruthless, self-absorbed creep, you look to get your wife's money, at all costs. He knows about his wife's lover and will seek to use him, making David an offer he can't refuse. This decision sets in motion a cat and mouse game that leaves the viewer wondering, just who is the cat and who is the mouse? Who will live and who will die?
This is a solid thriller that will keep the viewer riveted to the screen. Excellent performances are given by all. Michael Douglas is excellent as Steven Taylor, a cool and collected ruthless character who has sacrificed his very humanity to greed, power, and conspicuous consumption. He will stop at nothing to get what he wants. It is a role similar to that of Gordon Gekko, the character that Douglas played to critical acclaim in Oliver Stone's film, "Wall Street".
It is Gwyneth Paltrow's performance, however, that is the most notable. She infuses the role of Emily with a surprising strength and vulnerability, creating a sympathetic character. This is no easy task, considering that her character, a gloriously wealthy, gorgeous woman who is two-timing and deceiving her husband. Considering her husband, however, it is understandable. She does, however, seem to be looking for love in all the wrong places, as her lover has his own issues.
Viggo Mortensen gives an excellent performance as Emily's lover, David. It appears, however, that Emily may have picked a lover not all that different from her husband. Viggo Mortensen plays his part both hot and cold, as he is clearly conflicted by what Steven has asked him to do, despite the fact that it will give him what he originally set out to get. He manages, however, to turn the table on Steven, only to have Steven turn the table on him.
Sarita Choudhury gives a warm performance as Emily's friend, Raquel Martinez. David Suchet of Hercule Poirot fame effectively plays the part of the wily detective, Mohamed Karaman, who comes into the picture when Emily is almost murdered and is most sympathetic towards Emily.
All in all, this is a wonderful film that those who enjoy thrillers and murder mysteries will enjoy having in their personal collection. Bravo!