18 October 2009

6WH: October 18th

Perfume: The Story of a Murderer (2006) directed by Tom Tykwer
I was quite surprised when I heard someone was going to make a movie out of the novel. It tells the tale of a man born with a superhuman sense of smell. Smell isn't exactly an easy sense to convey in the audio-visual world of film (barring, of course, strange experiments from the 1960s). It requires a bit more work than a normal film from the audience. In a strange way, watching this movie is closer to the experience of reading the novel than most film adaptions; both require plenty of imagination to fill in the sensory gaps.

The bits that don't require imagination are, for the most part, excellent. Ben Whishaw does a wonderful job with his character. He plays a man who rarely speaks, experiences the world through his nose, has little regard for other people and still manages to the carry the movie by himself for most of the way. I was less impressed with Dustin Hoffman. Maybe it was just me, but I couldn't see him as anything other than Dustin Hoffman in a powdered wig using a bad accent. The cinematography is beautiful and the attention to detail is impressive. The orgy scene at the end suffered, I suspect, due to the producers aiming for an R-rating. It got the point across, nevertheless. An excellent adaption of the source material. (8/10)