Saturday, July 11, 2009

Revisiting... Perfume: The Story of a Murderer (2006)

Based on the German novel Das Parfum by Patrick Süskind, Perfume is the story of Jean-Baptiste Grenouille, a young man with an EXTREMELY keen sense of smell, who, by a cruel twist of fate, is born without a smell of his own.

[Now, THAT is what I call irony.]

He becomes obsessed with bottling beauty, or rather, preserving its scent. While apprenticed to a aging perfumer, Grenouille finds out that the perfect perfume is rumored to have thirteen chords (essences) instead of the usual twelve. Dark and slightly eerie, the storyline draws us into the Grenouille's obsession as he begins his journey, by way of murdering thirteen virtuous women solely to fulfill that task.

The cinematography for the movie is just beautiful, and the art direction is simply glorious, as we are shown Grenouille's world, especially from his point of view. Ben Whishaw does an amazing job as our anti-hero. Appearance-wise, he is certainly not ugly nor misshapen as depicted in the book, but Whishaw plays Grenouille to perfection, misunderstood and overlooked in life. I really cannot imagine any other actor taking on the role. Rachel Hurd-Wood has really blossomed out beautifully (I remember thinking she wasn't that pretty in the lousy Peter Pan), and Alan Rickman plays her father, the awesome guy who can pretty much predict Grenouille's next move. Even though she does die.

For those of you who've read (and loved) the novel, you really must watch this movie. And from a fellow purist, there are some minor changes, but I feel that they only made the story more intriguing, and certainly more macabre.


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