Riveting and scary
NY Movie Critic | 02/08/2008
(5 out of 5 stars)
"Not a run-of-the-mill slasher movie but a scary thriller that has many twists and turns. I don't recall another recent movie like this one - it has a Hitchcock or film noir feel. The acting is excellent and Wes Bentley gives a great, restrained performance as the troubled witness. I was on the edge of my seat during the film. The violence might be disturbing to some but it is not gratuitous. This is a movie that is enjoyable because it is so different, unpredictable, and thought-provoking. Not a typical Hollywood movie."
Ride the Downward Spiral..
Sterling | New York, NY | 02/10/2008
(4 out of 5 stars)
"I always imagined that someone in the world of reality TV would actually attempt what this movie chronicles - a filmmaker capturing the activities of a depraved serial killer. Well, obviously there'd be some moral concerns (rightly so) with the concept, but this movie also explores what else you'd find on that particular downward spiral. Highly suspenseful and engrossing, you can't help but feel trapped, much like the main character in the film, played convincingly well by Wes Bentley. I had the opportunity to watch this one on the independent circuit and was surprised. A strong debut for this up-and-coming director. If you want to be a bit disturbed, this will do it for you."
A Pleasant Surprise from an Unpleasant Movie
PristineAngie_dot_com | NYC | 03/21/2008
(5 out of 5 stars)
"Given the resources, this was an outstanding, surprisingly well-made film. Borkowski is not only impressive in his portrayal of the serial killer- who is actually more level-headed and logical than all the other characters around him- but he (along with Thomas C. Dunn) also wrote the story.
Also noteworthy is the inclusion of the realistic profile that killers could be people who do charitable work under the watchful eye of the public during daylight hours. There are so many movies that show antagonists in an absolute black-and-white portrayal, and this is simply not the case. We often hear news reports of monsters being hauled away when neighbors are interviewed afterwards with astonished faces, saying "he was such a nice, quiet person with good manners." In showing this, Borkowski and Dunn gives the film an added angle that a murderer could be any one, just around the corner, your neighbor or mine. And that's the primary key to creating fear, because when you walk out of the cinema or finish the dvd, you will look at your nice, courteous neighbors with a sense of doubt. You are no longer that sure...just like waking up from a nightmare involving your partner (who is sleeping next to you) hacking you to pieces and asking yourself, "how safe am I?"
Entertainment is not meant to go down that route. But if the creators set out to do that, they have suceeded here.
It is probably safe to say that most, if not all of us, won't have any idea how a true serial killer behaves, let alone what goes on in his or her mind. But a storyteller like Borkowski & Dunn utilizes our collective perception to create a recognizable atmosphere of dread.
This movie will inevitably be compared to Henry: Portrait of A Serial Killer, but it is a far superior version of it, combining a social and moral dialogue on the media's and public's grim fascination with murderers. It does this in a way that is more accessible than Michael Hanneke (eg. the original Funny Games). One of the premise is this: It's all very interesting to learn and watch a demented person when you are on the other side of the lens, but what happens when that demented person arrives in your backyard?
The grey zone is so blurred here, one doesn't know whether to be more disgusted with the serial killer for doing what he may have no control over, or the film-maker, who choses to hold the camera, yet pleads with his star not to kill the victim when he's around: "We don't need to see this, we can hear about it" or "You don't touch anybody or hurt anyone when I'm around."
There are twists and turns that keep the story from falling flat on its face. Bentley's acting is a little bit below par, but overall, Borkowski has shown here that with adequate craft in storytelling, superior acting, and the proper use of background music, one can create a high-strung, tension-filled movie with a modest budget.
Considering all these factors, Perfect Witness is easily the most impressive sleeper I have seen from 2007."
Pretty good thriller
r-dawg | portland,me | 03/08/2008
(5 out of 5 stars)
"i just watched this the other day and i was quite pleased. for a lower budget this is a good film. its creppy and it makes you think. worth a watch."