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Perfume: The Story of a Murderer
DVD disk
07.20.2007 By: Quigles
Perfume: The Story of a Murderer order
Director:
Tom Tykwer

Actors:
Ben Whishaw
Alan Rickman
Dustin Hoffman

Rating:
Movie:
Extras:
Overall:

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WHAT'S IT ABOUT?
Jean-Baptiste, a young man gifted (or cursed?) with a sophisticated sense of smell, makes it his life purpose to create the best perfume the world has ever... smelled. Even if it means having to kill his way to create it.
IS IT A GOOD MOVIE?
PERFUME is an oddity of film, comprised almost entirely of polar opposites. From the grungy yet beautiful production design, to the off-putting yet intriguing protagonist (if you can call him that), it's a movie destined to attract as many viewers as it disgusts. (The stomach-churning birth scene makes sure of that within the first five minutes.)

But, regardless of the fact that some audience members may be turned off by the movie itself, there's no denying its technical merits. To put it succinctly, the filmmaking is sensational. German director Tom Tykwer (the man behind the genius RUN, LOLA, RUN) comes back in full form once again with another mystifying cinematic experience. His direction is energetic and full of life while always retaining that classical look and feel. The sequences where the camera traverses along with Jean-Baptiste's perceptive sense of smell are particularly beautiful (and in some cases, nauseating - and appropriately so). Even if you don't enjoy the movie, there's something to be said for the impressive standard of quality at which it holds itself.

The acting is also up to snuff, so to speak (bad pun - sorry!), with relative newcomer Ben Whishaw injecting a great eerie eminence into the quietly obsessive Jean-Baptiste. Equally strong is Dustin Hoffman, the only actor who seems to be aware that he's taking part in what is essentially a darkly comedic fairy tale. His presence livens the mood in a film that otherwise takes itself a tad too seriously. Further perfecting the movie's already richly extravagant style is the score (suitably haunting and powerful, but never overbearing).

Without a solid story though, excellent filmmaking means nothing, and this is where certain individuals may find themselves at a loss. Whether it's that PERFUME's too weird, too gross, or too unbelievable, there's plenty here for people to take issue with. Personally, these were the very things that made me love the film. The ending, too. Sure, the orgy sequence is utterly ridiculous and needlessly gratuitous (hence all of the complaints), but I found it to be a fitting finish to an already ridiculous storyline.
THE EXTRAS
Such a great film; such worthless extras. Oh wait, that shouldn't be plural - there's only one. (Lucky for the DVD it has such a great video transfer, or else the rating would be even lower.)

The Story of Perfume (13:53): Considering how long it took to get this film made, it's disappointing to find such a basic making-of featurette. The praise-filled interview discussions and segments of behind-the-scenes footage are here as expected, but the jucier information is only lightly touched upon.
FINAL DIAGNOSIS
There are a lot of movies out there custom-built to please crowds; PERFUME is not one of them. It's a story so strange and unique, legendary director Stanley Kubrick claimed it was unfilmable. Whether his assessment was accurate or not is open to debate, but one thing's for sure: this is one experience that filmgoers won't soon forget.
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