A slap of grime with a side of murder and endorphins: Review of “Perfume: The Story of A Murderer”

Without any prior inkling of what the plot may be aside from what the title provided, I entered the theater and was overwhelmed by the filth on screen. Literal filth that is, of the maggots and fish guts variety. The dirt and refuse of Paris in the 1800’s. Despite my body’s better judgment, with flies flying over rat corpses so close to my face, my jaw dropped, and stayed dropped, all the way to the end of the movie.

The plot is filled with twists and a lot of it is a wonderful example of “show, not tell” that is preached by creative writing teachers everywhere and should really be exercised more often in film. There is dialogue and there is even a narrator, which gives the movie it’s fairy tale essence, but the main character is a man of few words and the most moving scenes are silent.

This movie is based on a book and this shows in the film’s construction, the way the plot seems broken into parts: the birth, the education, the finding of purpose and contemplation of destiny and then total destruction.

On second watching I decided that much of the movie’s magic is due to the subdued wittiness of death, which is less appreciated when it’s expected. The viewer must also be somewhat jaded by mainstream cinema and be prepared to welcome a main character who is neither good or bad, who does not evolve, and who does not really talk.

To give you impetus for viewing, but without ruining what is a glorious experience, I will tell you that you will see death, you will see perversion and you will see boobs. And in the end, if you’re drunk especially, you might cry. Even if you shed no tears, goose bumps will travail your body and you’ll walk away in a daze, with your jaw still trailing on the floor.

Copyright © 2007 Eat The Lemons


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