THE PERFECT HOST – Sundance Movie Review
THE PERFECT HOST, written and directed by first time director Nick Tomnay, is a movie that follows John Taylor (Clayne Crawford, who appears in the new season of 24), a bank robber on the run after a botched bank job, who, using subterfuge, gains entry into the home of Warwick Wilson (David Hyde Pierce – Frasier). Warwick, who is preparing to host a dinner party, starts out the evening being a gracious host but as events start to unwind and identities get revealed, things go from bad to worse.
I have mixed feelings about The Perfect Host. The story can best be described as a constant string of reversals of situation, where one protagonist gains the upper hand and then it switches on you. While this kind of story telling device works well in a heist like movie, here it fell kind of flat as it felt like we were being led in multiple directions for no good reason. The last 15 minutes of the movie take it too far when it radically changes the kind of movie you are watching. It’s as if you were watching “From Dusk til Dawn” and the switch in storyline happens towards the end of the movie instead of the middle.
Acting wise, The Perfect Host is essentially saved by David Hyde Pearce who is brilliant as the mild mannered, yet gently psycho host. His performance is a mix of Niles from Frasier and Jack Nicholson as the Joker in Batman. His scenes were the most compelling, especially the one where he dances a disco. Unfortunately, his performance was the only one that I will remember fondly. The remaining cast’s performance ranged from average to just plain terrible. Clayne Crawford as John Taylor lacked the charisma necessary to be a true rival to Hyde’s Warwick. His attempt at being cunning fell flat and at times were just too forced.
Overall, I can’t say that I hated The Perfect Host but I can’t really say that I loved it either. It had a strong premise but the delivery was weakened by a somewhat confusing story and uneven acting performances. If I had a recommendation, it would be to either rent it or watch it on Cable when it is released.