Perfume: The Story of a Murderer

"Bad"

Perfume: The Story of a Murderer Review


Like chugging a $200 bottle of pinot noir while feeding a steady methamphetamine habit, Tom Tykwer's take on Patrick Suskind's perverse classic Perfume takes out all the novel's dark teases and replaces them with his patented conniption-fit editing streaks and flashy color sweeps.

Since birth, Jean-Baptiste Grenouille (newcomer Ben Whishaw) has had a curiously strong sense of smell, bordering on superhuman. Born and continuously dropped-off under bad signs, Jean-Baptiste eventually makes his way to Paris where he becomes the apprentice of Baldini (Dustin Hoffman), an elderly perfumer who was once famous for his flourishing scents. Baldini wants to be able to compete with modern perfumers, but Jean-Baptiste has loftier ambitions. After murdering a young fruit girl, Grenouille becomes obsessed with cultivating the scent of women by any means possible. He leaves Baldini and heads for Grasse, the supposed kingdom of scent, where he encounters Antoine Richis (Alan Rickman) and his fiery, redheaded daughter (Rachel Hurd-Wood). It is here that Grenouille perfects away of capturing the scent of women and begins collecting the 12 women that will compose his ultimate scent... by paying with their lives.

Though terrifically overrated, Run Lola Run was certainly a fresh movie at the time of its release. Few films looked like it and the premise was derivative but never boring. Tykwer solidified a certain style in that film that carried into The Princess and the Warrior, but didn't become substantial until he directed Heaven, a film penned by the late Krzysztof Kieslowski.

Heaven showed that Tykwer wasn't all flash-and-dash; a strong story with steady production and restrained direction. Perfume plays more like the lost note between the galvanizing The Princess and the Warrior and Heaven, where Tykwer is still working out the kinks in the system. In scenes where studied, levelheaded production are crucial, the film moves with Tykwer's beat, jerking and twitching with special effects and extremely-overdone zoom-ins. The style of the story itself, separating it even from its source material, exudes a precise dramatic tone that echoes that of Jack the Ripper. To bring a story of such deeply-rooted, dark psychology into a rather frenetic style takes gentle hands for which Tykwer simply doesn't provide. What follows becomes predictable and terribly hollow, allowing for the speediness of the film to take over for any character growth or attachment.

Tykwer's editing and style doesn't get quite as bad as Tony Scott's migraine-inducing cinema of dilation, but it's not far off. The actors don't really act; they say their lines so that they can make way for the next long-range shot that can be manipulated by Red Bull-induced frenzies that never slow down. Suskind's classy, sublimely-dark novel inspired several artists, not least of all Kurt Cobain, who wrote "Scentless Apprentice" about the famed novel. On film, however, it smells of something a few steps down from Aqua Velva.

Let them eat Chanel.



Perfume: The Story of a Murderer

Facts and Figures

Genre: Dramas

In Theaters: Friday 5th January 2007

Box Office USA: $2.1M

Box Office Worldwide: $132.2M

Budget: $50M

Distributed by: Dreamworks

Production compaines: Nouvelles Éditions de Films, Rising Star, VIP Medienfonds 4, CDavis-Films, Ikiru Films

Reviews

Contactmusic.com: 1.5 / 5

Rotten Tomatoes: 58%
Fresh: 71 Rotten: 52

IMDB: 7.5 / 10

Cast & Crew

Director:

Producer:

Starring: as Jean-Baptiste Grenouille, as Bürgermeister von Grasse, as Bischof von Grasse, Richard Felix as Magistrat, Birgit Minichmayr as Grenouilles Mutter, as Madame Gaillard, as Aufseher, Alvaro Roque as Grenouille (5 Jahre), Franck Lefeuvre as Grenouille (12 Jahre), as Grimal, as Das Mirabellen-Mädchen, Timothy Davies as Chenier, as Giuseppe Baldini, as Laura, as Richis, as Jeanne, as Madame Arnulfi, Paul Berrondo as Dominique Drouot, Joanna Griffiths as Marianne, as Natalie, Harris Gordon as Marquis de Montesquieu, Enric Arquimbau as Executioner, as Narrator (voice)

Contactmusic


Links



Advertisement

New Movies

Their Finest Movie Review

Their Finest Movie Review

Skilfully written, directed and acted, this offbeat British period film tells a story that catches...

Unforgettable Movie Review

Unforgettable Movie Review

With heavy echoes of trashy thrillers like Fatal Attraction, this movie overcomes its painfully simplistic...

The Belko Experiment Movie Review

The Belko Experiment Movie Review

The kill-or-die scenario that this movie hinges on isn't something new; it's been used in...

The Fate of the Furious Movie Review

The Fate of the Furious Movie Review

With the more dumbed-down title Fast & Furious 8 outside of North America, this overcrowded...

A Quiet Passion Movie Review

A Quiet Passion Movie Review

British writer-director Terence Davies (The Deep Blue Sea) is an expert at digging beneath the...

The Sense of an Ending Movie Review

The Sense of an Ending Movie Review

Julian Barnes' Booker Prize-winning novel is adapted into a remarkably intelligent, gently involving film anchored...

The Boss Baby Movie Review

The Boss Baby Movie Review

There isn't a lot of subtlety in this madcap animated comedy, which is more aimed...

Advertisement
City of Tiny Lights Movie Review

City of Tiny Lights Movie Review

After the latest incarnation of Dredd, director Pete Travis shifts gears drastically for this complex...

Going in Style Movie Review

Going in Style Movie Review

This is only technically a remake of the iconic 1979 film starring movie icons George...

Graduation Movie Review

Graduation Movie Review

Romanian filmmaker Cristian Mungiu (4 Months, 3 Weeks and 2 Days) recounts another staggeringly detailed...

Ghost in the Shell Movie Review

Ghost in the Shell Movie Review

This sci-fi thriller is so visually stunning that it deserves to be mentioned in the...

Free Fire Movie Review

Free Fire Movie Review

Basically a 90-minute shoot-out, there isn't a lot to this movie. British filmmaker Ben Wheatley...

Life Movie Review

Life Movie Review

Like a mash-up of Alien and Gravity, this ripping sci-fi horror movie is very effective...

The Lost City of Z Movie Review

The Lost City of Z Movie Review

Based on a true story, it's the historical aspect of these events that holds the...

Advertisement
Artists
Actors
    Filmmakers
      Artists
      Bands
        Musicians
          Artists
          Celebrities
             
              Artists
              Interviews
                musicians & bands in the news
                  actors & filmmakers in the news
                    celebrities in the news

                      Go Back in Time using our News archive to see what happened on a particular day in the past.