Movie Notes: Perfume: The Story Of A Murderer
= 1 star
Starring Ben Whishaw, Alan Rickman, Dustin Hoffman
Directed by Tom Tykwer
Set in 18th century Paris, orphan Jean-Baptiste Grenouille (Ben Whishaw) is born with super-human powers of smell. Unfortunately he decides to create the ultimate perfume by killing young women and distilling their aroma (sorry, I’m not making this up).
- Definitely something different.
- Captures the sense of smell in film – no mean feat.
- Supposedly is very true to the book, considered by Stanley Kubrick to be unfilmable.
- The plot drifts from reality to metaphor, becoming progressively odder, until what I felt was a completely unsatisfying ending.
- The film’s main character, a silent serial killer, is a bad, distasteful person that I felt no sympathy for. He says very few things, looks like he’s going to pass out from his own depression, and hides in the shadows. Good times.
- The subject matter is extremely morbid, and eventually the mass murderer is redeemed for no good reason I could think of.
Only recommended if you crave something really unusual and have a strong stomach. Absolutely not a date flick.
I guess it’s an exploration of the indescribable power of scent (possibly pheromones) as a primal communication lost by modern society. That’s great, but did it have to involve a serial killer? Despite attempts to romanticize this idea, it basically distills down (no pun intended) to a strange social misfit with an extremely depressing sexual fetish.
I guess the book sold very well and this film version was successful in Europe, but considered unmarketable for America. I would generally agree with that. I nearly quit watching halfway through. As far as I’m concerned, Perfume is a real stinker.