a perfect fita thriller by ron brown
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Mira Jeff's "A Perfect Fit” Review Greetings AICN, MiraJeff here with a quickie review of an interesting straight-to-DVD movie called A Perfect Fit. While A Perfect Fit may not be such a thing with moviegoers, writer/director Rob Brown’s feature debut is an above-average thriller that manages to compel its audience as much as it excites and entertains it, daring to explore significant themes including date rape and abortion. Winner of the Audience Award at the Brooklyn International Film Festival, A Perfect Fit stars Adrian Grenier (Entourage) and Leila Arcieri as John and Sarah, a pair of star-crossed, ill-fated lovers carrying some serious baggage around Manhattan. Both of them have had little luck in love, which is why they latch onto each other so intensely right after meeting and hitting it off. You see, John has a fear of abandonment because he was given up for adoption as a little boy. As an adult he suffers from nightmares that blur the line between what is real, and what is only a dream. He sees a therapist (Polly Draper) to deal with his problems, but she can only do so much since John is a textbook control freak. Thus, whenever Sarah acts independently (for instance, goes to the grocery store without telling him) he loses his temper and becomes violent. His behavior becomes increasingly erratic when things get physical between them.

The film is propelled by a complex but convincing performance from Grenier, who is flat-out creepy at times, whether he’s dreaming (fantasizing?) about slitting his therapist’s throat, teetering on the ledge of an apartment building, or nearly spilling a secret of Sarah’s during a dinner with her parents. Since John’s temperament is so unstable and his mental state so unpredictable, he has severe mood swings where he and we, the audience, can’t distinguish between reality and fantasy. Things are further complicated when Sarah gets pregnant, and, after seeing signs of abusive behavior in her relationship, decides to have an abortion. This of course sends John into a fit of rage, which is convenient because it allows Brown’s film to play tricks on its audience. These violent “dream” scenes threaten to come off as manipulative, but they work because they take place within the context of John’s psyche.

When given free reign, Grenier generates genuine intensity, communicated best through his expressive, puppy-dog eyes. While Entourage showcases Grenier’s acting ability amongst an ensemble, A Perfect Fit is really his movie to carry, and thankfully gives us a better idea of his range as an actor. Compared to the psychologically fragile John, playing Vincent Chase on HBO must be a cakewalk. Arcieri is refreshing as a strong but confused woman who knows something is off about her boyfriend, but can’t quite put her finger on what it is, or what to do about it. While she may never breakthrough onto Hollywood’s radar like Grenier, she’s certainly a skilled actress, who exudes a unique brand of sexual confidence.

While the film veers off into B-movie territory sometimes, specifically during the digitally-shot “dream” sequences, it is redeemed by fairly high production values for an indie, as well as an effective score courtesy of Michael Montes. A Perfect Fit has garnered some reactions that are calling the film controversial for its depiction of date rape, in a scene reminiscent of Sam Peckinpah’s Straw Dogs. As John ties Sarah up to sexually humiliate her, it appears she has the chance to get away from him, but she stays and plays victim to her boyfriend’s masochistic urges. Her submission to John can be viewed either as an apology, or as a defensive technique to avoid any further physical rebuke. A Perfect Fit asks difficult questions that may not have cut and dry answers. It shows us an honest portrait of an abusive relationship and the people who perpetuate and tolerate them.

Director Ron Brown is an original filmmaker to keep your eye on with a unique voice that isn’t concerned with box office, but rather, character development. By the end of A Perfect Fit, we really know what makes John and Sarah tick. The movie acts as a warning that makes us question how well we really know the people sleeping beside us at night. It’s not perfect filmmaking, but Brown succeeds in what he set out to do. Fans of Grenier won’t be disappointed, as long as they don’t expect Turtle and Johnny Drama to provide comic relief. Till next time, this is MiraJeff, signing off for now, but have no fear, I’ll be back next week with my take on Park Chanwook’s Sympathy For Lady Vengeance.


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Brendan Howard reviews "A Perfect Fit"

Grenier is a prettyboy Benicio del Toro for the next generation, with pouty lips, a thick shock of dark hair and intense eyes underneath a strong brow. It’s that prettiness that he employs in his breakout hit, HBO’s “Entourage,” as laidback heartthrob actor Vincent Chase. Those who fear he’s a one-trick pony playing himself need look no further than A Perfect Fit to see laidback actor Vincent transformed into obsessive-compulsive, increasingly unstable John.

The movie explodes from the start, with John ruthlessly murdering his therapist. When we discover it’s just a dream he reveals to that therapist, the movie mellows. John runs into twentysomething dance instructor Sarah (Arcieri) at his computer shop, and he chases her on the Internet to set up a date. Not halfway into the film they meet and, instead of developing into a comedy of errors based on John’s virtual stalking, he comes clean and she thinks he’s adorable enough to accept his apology.

As their relationship quickly develops — with flowers, constant dates and a pregnancy — the movie doesn’t hide the fact that John is a troubled man with violent dreams, a history of abuse at the hands of a father figure and an uncontrollable need to control. The film shows us enough of his private moments and inner demons that we can sympathize with him and Sarah, who loves him but isn’t weak enough to allow herself to be forever victimized by him.

A complicated mixture of romantic drama, thriller and Sybil-like analysis of mental illness, A Perfect Fit doesn’t completely satisfy only because it refuses to dumb down the material. It rings true, and that’s what makes it special.

Selling Points: “Entourage” fans are a given, but lovers of believable dialogue, drama and thrillers will enjoy it on the strength of word-of-mouth.


 

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