Monday, February 25, 2008

Scent of a Woman

No, I'm not talking about the Al Pacino flick. Last night I saw Perfume: The Story of a Murderer.

Wow, what a weird movie. Definitely not for the squeamish or strait-laced, this is one of the most memorable movies I've seen in ages. How it got a 15 certificate instead of an 18, I don't know.

It has a top-notch cast: Alan Rickman, Dustin Hoffman & John Hurt are the big names, but the best performance comes from Ben Whishaw as Jean-Baptiste Grenouille, a strange young man with a extraordinary sense of smell who tries to capture the scent of the perfect woman. I'm not going to say anything at all about the plot, and I suggest you don't find out too much before you watch it. Just go with it. Suffice it to say that this is a horrific, disturbing, and yet somehow poetic and beautiful film that repels you but you just can't stop watching for its sheer artistry and gruesome fascination. (For those of you who have seen it, I liked the end. I thought it worked well. But I can see why people disagree. If you do make a comment on this, no spoilers please!)

The direction and cinematography is gorgeous, revelling equally in both beauty and horror, and it's complemented by a great script and a truly superb soundtrack, both of which were part-written by Director Tom Tykwer, who I hadn't heard of before. It takes quite some skill to make a movie about smell without resorting to Smell-O-Vision, but this one really works. Apparently Perfume bombed in the US, which isn't surprising. It has a very European feel to it, and somehow I suspect the end sequences were cut for its US release.

This definitely won't be to everyone's liking, but I'd recommend it.

1 comment:

patrick said...

Saw Perfume recently, well done in general, good character building, original cinematography... expresses a lot about human nature as well.