Perfect Sense (2012)
A hit at Sundance '11 and winner of the Ediburgh Film Festival's prize for Best New British Feature, the amazing genre creation directed by David Mackenzie stars Eva Green and Ewan McGregor as witnesses to the end of the world-- strangers who form a desperate romantic connection in the face of an apocalyptic epidemic of sensory loss. -- (C) IFC
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Critic Reviews for Perfect Sense
This film from David Mackenzie is such a curiously inert experience that never satisfies as a romance, a sci-fi drama or as a social parable.
The most depressing film in recent memory might be this low-budget apocalyptic Irish romance.
Each deprivation is preceded by a flurry of emotion that leads to the film's most vivid sequences.
The problem with Perfect Sense is its inability to be effective as either a character-based love story or something larger and more bold.
There is a low key element to this narrative much like what CHILDREN OF MEN offered, however this is not nearly as successful as Alfonso Cuarón's brilliant feature.
A deeply spiritual love story that challenges us to be fully alive to the report of our senses and to live in the present moment which will never appear again.
A strong candidate for the most nauseating film of the year, in every sense.
People around the world progressively lose their senses of smell, taste, hearing and, finally, sight. Too bad the filmmakers never seem to have had a sense of humor in the first place.
Visually glassy and smooth, Perfect Sense values the dynamic mood of each scene without being overly stylized.
A solemn sci-fi parable set in present-day Glasgow, whose deepening sense of foreboding is sustained by the enigmatic, pseudo-biblical reflections of an unseen narrator.
It's difficult to impart feelings of profound sadness with an image of Ewan McGregor shoving a stick of butter in his mouth.
Sadly, even aficionados of the Cinema of Extinction may make "Perfect Sense" an Omega choice.
The gimmick isn't enough to sustain drama because it doesn't provide jeopardy..Even as humanity is slowly stripped of its senses, nothing seems to be particularly at stake.
In staying together as their world evaporates into darkness and silence, they are displaying what anyone in love would recognize as quiet heroism - and perfect sense.
Audience Reviews for Perfect Sense
This was a very interesting way of presenting an end-of-the-world scenario. I definitely appreciated the performances by McGregor and Green. I suppose those who did not like it simply did not get the message it tries to send.More
Perfect Sense is a film possessing an interesting idea, and yet, in the end leaves you with the feeling that so much more could have been explored here.
Central is the theme that people do what people will do, and that, in particular, without love and companionship the human condition is nothing. This is all wrapped up in a parable about an epidemic wherein people begin to lose their senses one by one; all while a narrator tells us that we should take note of all of our senses, and the film follows by pointing out that without the sense of smell to trigger our memories, those memories themselves fade. This is a nice observation as whenever I smell the first scent of ozone before a fall rain it brings back memories of earlier rainy days.
However, this film, featuring Ewan McGregor, while having some poetic moments, and others of blunt realism, still somehow fails to mesh, as there is a certain fatalism at work here which strips the film of many a potential dramatic moment. That you somehow fail to really care much about the entire enterprise, let alone the blossoming love amongst the ruins affair of McGregor and scientist/love interest Eva Green is not the fault of the actors, for they are just fine, if not a bit hemmed in by script restraints... and it isn't that the script doesn't have some very truthful and lovely moments (I'm not going to reveal the ending here, but rather will simply say that it is poignant and satisfying). So then why does the film not illicit a better response? I suspect because the overall arc is so very matter of fact and that, even while showing the love connection between the two leads, the film somehow remains at odds and is often very clinical in its portrayal of the end of the world.
I did rather enjoy the what if scenario involving a restaurant, and found the critic writing about the texture of the food to be a nice touch (am I revealing too much by mentioning this when I have already mentioned that the film is about a lose of the senses?). But.. these moments are unfortunately too few and in its short run time, I felt that too much time was invested on things that ultimately didn't matter (like the running of the restaurant), while other opportunities (like more investigation into the epidemic) remained un-mined gold.
I also felt that the flow of the film could have been better and that the artsy collages of world events were more of a distraction than a contribution to the film. Regardless, this film does have some merit in spite of some rather clumsy handling of the topic.
Question: Do you remember when you were a kid and you constantly asked people "what if" questions? My kids do it all the time. So much so it drives me nuts some days. "What if the sky was green? What if we had a cat instead of a dog? What if I had an extra arm?" etc... I also recall when I was younger and being asked what if I had to choose to lose one of my senses which one would I select? I always had difficulty with that one. Losing my sight or hearing were an automatic no, but what about taste, smell or the ability to feel? Oh, I struggled with giving an answer. They all have importance to me and the way I live my life. Which one would you choose?
I ask these questions because I watched Perfect Sense recently and the plot was about this exact topic. In typical form I don't want to give the plot away so I will try and just give you some details that I really enjoyed about this film. Yes, I will skip over the fact that Ewan McGregor stars in this, but I do have to say he was quite good in this one.
First, Perfect Sense told on a very unique "what if" story but took it to an extreme. Imagine losing one of your senses. How would you cope? What other senses would heighten or adjust? How would it affect your job? So many questions get asked in this film it was sometimes hard to keep up with what I would do. So, I just let the story take me away and I let the filmmaker prove their vision for specific outcomes. And both lead characters, Ewan McGregor and Eva Green, did a fantastic job showing how different types of people react to losing a sense. I'd say more about the specifics of the characters but it is best you just find out for yourselves how they meet, connect and deal with their issues.
Second, then the plot added in a romance that became affected by the "what ifs", and it makes you really think about how people, why people and what people do when they are in love and when something is subtracted from the equation. Brilliant! We all have been romantically involved with someone, and usually there are certain obstacles to get over, get around or avoid. But what if everyone had the same obstacles? A level playing ground, so to speak. The film delves into this and I was completely mesmerized by the progression of certain relationships.
Lastly, by the end of the film, and I cannot say as to why or I will give too many details away, I was smiling when I hadn't really throughout the majority of the film. Not just at what was happening in the film but how the filmmakers communicated the finale. It gave me goose bumps and it really brought me even more into the story, if that was possible. I totally lose myself when I watch a film but the experience I had with Perfect Sense brought me in so much deeper. Well done!
And on that note: I am going to let my children ask me as many "what if" questions as they want because I know believe they are the impetus to good storytelling. You'll never know where asking certain questions will lead.
Directed by David McKenzie, BBC Films, 2011.
Written by Kim Fupz Aakeson.
Genre: Drama, Romance, Sci-Fi.
Starring: Ewan McGregor, Eva Green, Connie Nielsen, Denis Lawson, Stephen Dillane, and Ewen Bremner.
My favorite part: Well, Ewan McGregor, of course but honestly I loved how the film ended.
My least favorite part: A scene with people eating - that is all I will say about that.
Length: 92 minutes
Review: 8 out of 10
Perfect Sense Quotes
- Fat and flour!
- I need you to come back to me.
- Life goes on.
- Then there's the other movement... farmers going out to milk their cows... soldiers reporting for duty. Those who believe that life will go on somehow... or just don't know what else to do. People prepare for the worst... but hope for the best. They concentrate on the things that are important to them. All the things beyond fat and flour.
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