Thursday, January 4, 2007

Perfume: The Story of a Murderer

Posted on Thu, Jan 4, 2007 at 4:00 AM

**1/2
Perfume: The Story of a Murderer
Length: Single
Studio: DreamWorks SKG
Rated: R
Website: http://www.perfumemovie.com/
Release Date: 2006-12-27
Cast: Ben Whishaw, Dustin Hoffman, Alan Rickman, Rachel Hurd-Wood, Corinna Harfouch
Director: Tom Tykwer
Screenwriter: Tom Tykwer, Andrew Birkin, Bernd Eichinger, Caroline Thompson, Patick Suskind
Music Score: Tom Tykwer, Bronwen Jones, Dana Niu, Johnny Klimek, Reinhold Heil
WorkNameSort: Perfume: The Story of a Murderer
Our Rating: 2.50
Jean-Baptiste Grenouille (Ben Whishaw) was baptized by stench when his mother squatted him out onto the chum-strewn floor of a Paris fishmonger's stall. By the age of 5 he hasn't yet learned to speak, but his exquisitely sensitive nose eagerly unfolds the world's olfactory inventory, whether pleasant (fresh apples, clean lace) or unpleasant (a rat writhing with maggots like a vermin piñata). You know the day he discovers real perfume it's all over. It would be enough to accompany Jean-Baptiste through his much-deserved apprenticeship to a master perfumer (Dustin Hoffman). But things get weird quickly when he kills a woman just so he can run his nose over every inch of her still-warm skin. This creepy act of olfactory rape is irrevocably jarring, alienating us from the emotionally stunted Jean-Baptiste permanently. And once he decides to devote his life to encapsulating the smell of warm female in a bottle, that's when the fun stops dead. As the body count of sexualized corpses increases (an indignity sharpened by the hypocrisy of staying above the navel to clear an R rating) Perfume starts to resemble an olfactory Peeping Tom minus the intellectual chops necessary to back up its atrocities. It's a shame the rancid, misogynist undertone of lowest-common-denominator slasher porn overwhelms all its redeeming qualities.

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