23.1.10

Perfume: The Story of a Murderer

Very rich indeed. The entire film has been colour-timed to look sharp, gorgeous, hyper-real. Smell is impossible to capture with images and sound, and yet this film does its damned hardest. And it works. The first act or so, when our offactory genius is discovering his gift, is the film at its most arresting, right up to the beautiful / horrific climax with his first Belle Dame.

It can only go downhill from there. Dustin Hoffman shows up, unfortunately. And later, Alan Rickman comes to do his Serverus Snape thing. Thank the gods Ben Wishaw (who was brilliant in Bright Star) is there to keep us interested. He is facinating to watch -- a brilliant anti-hero. By turns endearing and disturbing. He carries the film very well.

And what a mental film it is. The ideas get progressively more twisted and surreal, and the execution scene may be too much for some to swallow. There were pangs where I started thinking "no, now this is silly", but on the whole I stayed with it. But stayed with what, exactly? What is this fable about, anyways? Honestly? It defies any interpretation I try and place on it. I get the feeling the writers seemed more interested in constructing crazy set-pieces, not worrying too much about what it will mean when you put it all together. But that feeling may just be a cover for my inability to read anything into it. You decide. All I can say is that normally, this kind of opaqueness would bug the roaring bile out of me, but with Perfume I didn't mind. The film was beautiful and very entertaining. Sometimes that's enough.

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