Some movies tend to not get any respect if they don’t have a major theatrical release, which is a shame because sometimes good acting can happen in bad movies. “The Perfect Witness” is a prime case of good acting, bad movie and while there is some interesting tidbits on the DVD, overall I can see why this bypassed theaters.
Mickey Gravatski (Wes Bentley) is a struggling documentarian who records a murder being committed by the notorious serial killer Jimmy Lemac (Mark Borkowski). This gives Mickey the idea for his greatest documentary ever, to follow Lemac around and figure out what makes him tick. But when Jimmy starts to play games with Mickey, the young man could be walking into a trap that could see him taking the fall for Jimmy’s crimes.
I went into this movie with no knowledge of it whatsoever and did find some enjoyment in it. It doesn’t have the best acting or production values but in the vein of something like “Henry: Portrait of a Serial Killer” or “The Riverman” there is a great serial killer story here. Newcomer and writer Borkowski plays an amazing killer and I would be surprised if he doesn’t make some more movies as the baddie. There were also some very cool effects shots with the camera that made me ask “how did they do that?”
Where “The Perfect Witness” ends up failing the most is in its story. You have a man who films the murder of a young woman and thinks “Well I can make my fortune from taping this man murder innocent people.” Mickey’s motives in the beginning just seem incredibly shallow and once his own mother is threatened then he starts to think that maybe this was a bad idea…gee you think? In listening to the commentary on the DVD the director also tried to explain how Mickey is able to find Jimmy but the police haven’t even been looking for him. While the creator does give some good ideas I just felt that they were implausible. I mean the police don’t even seem to be investigating these murders and I would find it highly suspect that if they were that they wouldn’t have arrested him by his seventh kill. The film also drags on towards the end with Lemac’s struggle to find his mother. I just felt disconnected with the whole plot and thought it could have been clipped.
The DVD does offer some interesting background on the film. The Director’s Commentary with director Thomas Dunn, writer and serial killer in the film Mark Borkowski and producer Yan Fisher-Romanovsky is very interesting to listen to. They give some great background on shots that were taken out, issues with the first run when the film was originally called “The Ungodly,” and fun little bits about the actors and all. The three tend to muddle each other out though when they all talk at once and Borkowski tends to talk really low, making you strain to hear him but overall it was an interesting listen. Other than that there are storyboards for a few scenes so if you like those you’ll enjoy this feature. There is a standard trailer for the film and trailers for other First Look movies like “A Guide to Recognizing Your Saints” and “The Dead Girl.”
“The Perfect Witness” is now available on DVD and I give it a 3/5. Do watch it to see the great performance by Borkowski but other than that don’t try to think too hard.