The Tomatometer rating – based on the published opinions of hundreds of film and television critics – is a trusted measurement of movie and TV programming quality for millions of moviegoers. It represents the percentage of professional critic reviews that are positive for a given film or television show.
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The Tomatometer is 60% or higher.
The Tomatometer is 59% or lower.
Movies and TV shows are Certified Fresh with a steady Tomatometer of 75% or higher after a set amount of reviews (80 for wide-release movies, 40 for limited-release movies, 20 for TV shows), including 5 reviews from Top Critics.
Percentage of users who rate a movie or TV show positively.
Perfume: The Story of a Murderer never tries to make Jean-Baptiste sympathetic but he's not rendered monstrous, either: He just is a victim of a passion larger and more powerful than any one man can handle.
Tykwer's smash-and-grab directing style lacks the magisterial flair of the original novel by Patrick Suskind, which was celebrated by no less than John Updike in The New Yorker. It's hard to judge a book right after you've seen the movie, but I hated it.
Tykwer, best known for the ultramodern chase movie Run Lola Run, would seem an unusual choice for a period film, but he infuses the sometimes stately story with vigor; though well past two and a half hours, it never feels long.
Even if that broad interpretation -- that art is worth any human cost, that identity can be put on, like a scent -- leaves you cold, there's a world to immerse yourself in, a killer to be pursued, and an innocent to be feared for.
Whishaw's oddly charismatic performance makes the despicable Grenouille into an almost sympathetic antihero. The rather astonishing finale will likely have audiences either howling in derision or ardently dissecting afterward.
Perfume is not gratuitously violent, nor does it focus on the act of murder itself. There are numerous suspenseful and creepy scenes showing Jean-Baptiste at work, but, primarily, the movie is the study of a troubled human being.
Tykwer has to set a unique tone here -- fairy tales about serial killers being somewhat rare -- and he manages the absurdity of his subject matter well, keeping Jean-Baptiste right on the edge between monster and genius.
Director Tom Tykwer can be commended for capturing so much of the book's mélange of pleasure, pain and longing for the impossible in Perfume, which is at least the most elegant movie yet made about the exploits of a serial killer.