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 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.