The 1998 movie, A Perfect Murder starring Michael Douglas and Gwyneth Paltrow tells the story of Steven Taylor (Douglas) plotting murder against his wife, Emily Taylor (Paltrow).

Steven discovers that his wife, Emily is having an affair with another man. After the discovery of the affair, the movie begins to focus on Steven and how he plots the murder of his wife.

She is sleeping with an artist. Her husband, much older than she, is controlling; plus, he's a rich international investor in financial trouble. Then we learn that she's in love with the artist, that she has her own fortune, which the artist is possibly more interested in than in her, and that her husband has figured out she's having an affair. He approaches the artist with plans for a perfect murder.

It is later revealed in the movie that Steven has been having financial troubles for approximately one year. Steven would be the sole beneficiary of his wife's trust fund worth $100 million.

Since Steven was in financial trouble for a while, is there any evidence to suggest that he was contemplating the death of his wife BEFORE he discovered the affair? Did he use the discovery of the affair to justify the murder plot?

1 Answer 1


I've watched this movie several times, and I've always felt that the affair presented Steven with the perfect alibi. Hence the title; The Perfect Murder.

As with most financial crimes, the perpetrator never thinks they'll get caught. They're too smart for that. Steven was likely in a position, however, where he felt the walls closing in. He was still self-centered, however. He was worried about himself. His thoughts were on himself.

Once he discovered his wife was having an affair, Steven realized that if he played a good game of Chess that he might have an out. So he confronted David (Viggo's character) and tries to get him to commit the murder. There is no indication that murdering his wife was even a consideration prior to the affair being discovered.

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