Perfect Strangers - Review 9

5 February 2005

A near perfect weird little drama, with more than a few nasty surprises.

Those with good memories will remember Sam Neill's superb documentary made in the mid 1990s about the history of New Zealand movie making, A Cinema of Unease. In that documentary he stipulated that the abiding theme of cinema made in this country was a sense of dislocation, disembodiment. If New Zealand had a psyche, then the mirror held up to it in the movies made by it's own people reflected a profoundly troubled individual.

Perfect Strangers conforms perfectly to this prognosis. It could almost be termed a Kiwi gothic.

It tells of the experiences of Melanie (Aussie Actress Rachael Blake, of the superb Lantana) who, in the best tradition of Kiwi socialising , hooks up with a complete stranger at the pub one night.

And what a coinky-dink. That stranger is played by none other than old Sam. It's a small world etc.

'My place or yours' he asks

'Yours. I've been to mine.'

Ladies have you ever been literally swept off your feet by a bloke? The stranger takes Melanie back to his place, a shack on an offshore island. But as his passion reveals itself as more of an obsession, Melanie realises she has been kidnapped.

And then the real sinister stuff begins to happen…

As close to a New Zealand David Lynch movie as you would ever want to get, Perfect Strangers is a near perfect weird little drama, with more than a few nasty surprises.