Perfume: The Story of a Murderer Reviews
I like artsy films, I do. But man, even with a potentially intriguing and involving concept, this is just a plodding, overlong bore. That, and it gets really absurd and hard to take seriously at times, especially the over the top ending. Yeah, there are some moments that are really creppy, atmospheric, thrilling and well done, but overall this is a lackluster thriller that doesn't deliver the goods often enough.
The production values are great, the film looks spectacular, and the music is quite good, but there's not a whole lot here that's really all that stunning. The cast is good, but their performances seem off, distant, and like they're jsut going through the motions. Plus, as I keep saying, the concept is potentially itneresting, but let's think about it: a sense of smell is the main driving force here. That's not an easy thing to make work, and I think they could have done a better job with the concept.
There's no shortage of talent here, but I just think that everyone went about it the wrong way a lot of times, hence why the film is the way it is. It's not a total failure, but man, this is a tough one to sit through.
Ben Whishaw was entrancing to watch as he became a serial killer and of course Dustin Hoffman and Alan Rickman deliver performances their names promise.
The story is edged with a bit of strange. But I think that's what made it slightly fantastical. I haven't read the book, but I am very interested in it now.
But this is a minor plot hole in comparison to the film's other issues. There are moments when the film attempts to match American Psycho on the "that's fucked up" scale, but the important difference is that American Psycho was about something. There was a specific point for which the serial killer motifs were leveraged. Not so here.
Also, though the transformation of a crowd from blood-thirsty mob to one of the largest film orgies ever was interesting, it was altogether too unbelievable. Likewise, the entire process of turning pretty girls into perfume defied reason.
However, this wonderful premiss is taken to the extreme - the best nose in the world can follow someone over great lenghts, simply by smelling their scent. If you can suspend your believe here, then the film has a lot to offer, including wonderful period scenery, some fine acting, and a certain degree of mysticism that, while bombastic, seems believable in context.
I'm not here to reveal too much of the plot, just the main point that a young orphan has a sensual/sexual awakening (the sniffing of the female body is interesting and may be considered erotic to some), and wants to capture that experience, via scent, forever. This leads him to apprenticeship to an Italian perfume maker, aptly portrayed by Dustin Hoffman, with a serious bent that has just enough frivilous jovility and a wink in his eye to make his time on screen in the first third of the film worth the price of admission.
Once the orphan learns the trade, Hoffman tells him a legend from ancient Egypt where a scent was found that, when smelled, led to rapture. So our hero, a quiet and offputting gent, goes off in search of the ingredients.
He comes to a city in Provence where they harvest lilac and other flowers, and sniffs out the daughter of Alan Rickman, a burghor of the town. Rickman is solid as always, especially when he is portraying aristocracy.
The dead bodies of young women begin to appear about town, and we're witness to what amounts to alchemy, until the final scenes where the illusive, perfect perfume is unleashed.
There were times when I thought I was watching a non-musical version of Sweeney Todd, and almost wish the lead actor to have been J. Depp. Overall I enjoyed much of what was presented here, although the pacing lagged in places, especially during the climatic scene where the tension of the situation seemed to lose steam because of it.
There are a couple of continuity problems that occure in the last third; to wit: when the boy leaves the town to chase after Rickman and his daughter, he rushes out with nothing but the clothes on his back, leaving behind all his vials of ingredients, only to later be seen with all his vials and a small cooker.
Also, when he is later caught and tortured, he somehow manages to conceal a vial of perfume from the gendarmes - not likely.
Regardless of this, and a somewhat wooden portrayal by Ben Whishaw in the lead, this film has enough going for it for me to recommend it.
i was looking forwar to this as i thought it would bea good movie, and it is compelling and different and quite nicely written with an intriguing and interesting story i just ddnt really lilke the ending at all completely hated the ending with a passion as i just thought it was probably the most stupid ending in the historyof all moies!
its about this weirdly terrifig man who loves smells and looksfor the mst perfect perfume and in doing that he jkills peple so hes a bit like jack the ripper style, this is a good enough movie just dont look forward to the ending!
Jean-Baptiste Grenouille, born with a superior olfactory sense, creates the world's finest perfume. His work, however, takes a dark turn as he searches for the ultimate scent.
I really enjoyed this film. Of course it is a challenge to visualise smell, but I think Tom Tykwer did a good job. This is one of the first period pieces that might just present the period realistically - with all its smudged faces, dirty fingernails, rags, the offal in the streets...not even the upper classes were "clean" (to our standards), with their grimy wigs and unwashed clothes, and the film presented this in every shot. Watching Grenouille do what he does feels voyeuristic and somehow wrong, and yet you cannot look away. Not a film for people with a weak stomach!
A visual bonus for me were the beautiful shots of the Provence -after all the dark colours of the city scenes, the sun and the lavender fields are a feast for the eye, as it must have been a feast for Grenouille's nose.
The film stays very close to the book and is an visual enrichment for those who have read it, and probably a great surprise for those who haven't.
Still, a unique protagonist, creepy murders, and a morbidly fond attention to subject matter makes it a pure joy to sit through... until the ending throws you into an equally good (in its own way), but jarringly different tone than the rest of the film.
Beautifully shot and interpreted, it keeps you interested, if not immersed.
The good parts of this film were of course the period in which it was set and Alan Rickman.
VERDICT: This is definitely one of those films you either love or hate.
In that way, I guess Perfume is a bit of a smoke-and-mirrors act. It's difficult to say how it treats its main character, played decently by Ben Whishaw; at times he is venerated and at others, maligned. To divert your attention from him, it employs remarkable visuals and incredible, unforced wonder. One of the best-looking movies in recent memory, Perfume shows the undeniable brand of a master cinematographer. Also, the ending is one of the most stunning and unforgettable I've ever seen. My jaw was hanging open.
Stanley Kubrick called the original novel unfilmable, and were it not for this outstanding effort by Tom Tykwer, I'd almost agree with him. (I haven't read the book but now I really want to.) It is difficult to truly get behind a film where the main character is devoid of human characteristics, but it's easy to appreciate it, with a discerning eye.