Film Review – ‘The Perfect Host’ (2010)

“You can’t kill me, I’m having a dinner party!”

I should preface this by saying that I am not in any way a professional or even experienced critic. I would be hesitant to call this a review, and it certainly will not be comprehensive.

‘The Perfect Host’ has recently become one of my all-time favourite films. I must have watched it around 10-15 times, drawn back by some indescribable quality. The film centers around Warwick Wilson (played by David Hyde Pierce) who is throwing a dinner party when he is interrupted by the arrival of John Taylor (played by Clayne Crawford), who is on the run and looking for a place to lay low for a while.

The major plot twist happens fairly early on in the film but the continued character development and later, smaller twists carry the film on regardless. The entire production of this film (writing, acting, direction, set design etc.) is of stellar quality and it is a shame that it seems to be such an underrated film. I know that I would likely not have come across it had it not been for me running out of Frasier episodes to watch and so looking through Hyde Pierce’s body of work for new sources of entertainment.

The two main characters are so well-written and the to-and-fro of the plot-line make it difficult to root for either one for any length of time. The presence of two main characters that oppose each other yet neither taking the role of either protagonist or antagonist makes this a delight to watch. I must confess at this point that Warwick is one of my favourite on-screen characters alongside big-hitters such as Greg House and Jesse Pinkman. He has some fantastic lines delivered to perfection by Hyde Pierce who creates a character that becomes successively more and more creepy yet more and more likable as the film progresses. Any initial similarities to Niles Crane are quickly dispelled as Warwick soon reveals a very different side to his personality.

Crawford takes the role of the criminal who, whilst on the run from the law following a bank robbery, lands at Warwick’s doorstep in the hope of hiding out. Starting out as a well-organised, in-control thief he quickly discovers that not only has he been identified and is now sought for the robbery, but that he is no longer quite in control of the situation. It is difficult to say more without spoiling some of the better aspects of the plot but needless to say, the film is damn good.

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