Friday, December 29, 2023

The Perfect Murderer, on Eurochannel

Kamenar is a homicide detective with a death wish. Even after a lifetime dealing with death, he was unprepared when it came for his family. This case might finally kill him, or possibly lead him towards redemption when he finds himself protecting his late daughter’s estranged friend in Jozsef Pacskovszky’s The Perfect Murderer, which premieres tomorrow on Eurochannel.

Both Kamenar and his wife have essentially given up on life. He is daring every criminal in Budapest to kill him, whereas she is about to enter a convent. Much to his surprise, he discovers his daughter’s former bestie Petra is the prime suspect in a murder. CCTV has her entering the luxury flat before the murder and exiting after, which is a bad look for her. Indeed, his colleague refers to her as, you know, “the perfect murderer.” However, he soon discovers another deleted access to the security system.

For a while, it looks like Kamenar might just keep Petra a captive in his “new” bachelor pad. Yet, he will become her protector when parts of her story check out. In fact, she most likely scratched the real killer, who is presumably out to get them both. He will need someplace secure to hide her, like a nunnery.

Perfect Murderer
looks and sounds like it has the makings of a fiendishly twisty thriller, but the ho-hum plotting is predictable and the execution is rather flat. It is easy to guess who the surprise villain is, due to the small cast of characters and Mr. X’s conspicuously weird behavior. Perhaps his predatory pursuit of his implied sexuality also possibly says something about Orban’s Hungary.

By far, the best thing
Perfect Murderer has going for it is craggy Zsolt Laszlo’s incredibly hard-nosed performance as Kamenar. He is all grizzled gristle, but, somehow, he makes it believable when Kamenar becomes Petra’s guardian angel. Nora Horich is a convincing hot-mess as the endangered witness. Plus, Gyozo Szabo also adds rumpled grit as Kamenar’s schlubby but possibly dangerous rival, Szabo Ormos.

The convent location and its eerie surroundings are highly atmospheric, but just about every viewer will be miles ahead of Jozsef & Zsolt Pacskovszky’s by-the-numbers storyline. Sorry, but it’s exactly who you’ll think it is, so why can’t everyone else figure that out quicker?

As cinematographer, Francisco Gozon overachieves, especially given the obvious budget constraints, but the Pacskovszkys underachieve as screenwriters. Laszlo is highly watchable, but the film itself underwhelms. Not worth your time,
The Perfect Murderer airs 12/30, 12/31, 1/1, 1/2, 1/4, 1/5, 1/6, and 1/8 on Eurochannel (and it streams on Tubi).