Perfume: The Story of a Murderer


Written on 3:57 PM by Hemanth Kumar

Title: Perfume-The Story of a Murderer
Director: Tom Tykwer
Actors: Ben Whishaw, Dustin Hoffman, Alan Rickman, Rachel Hurd-Wood
Year of Release: 2006

Not too often can we find a movie which really stands by its title. Sometimes the titles are so bizzare that it really makes us wonder how is it connected to the story. For example this flick, "Perfume: The story of a murderer" is one such thing. Based on the German Novel "Das Parfum" by Patrick Suskind, the movie directed by Tom Tykwer was released in 2006. This happen after directors like Stanley Kubrick, Martin Scorsese had once exclaimed that the novel was unadaptable on the big screen! Eventually it was adapted and after having seen this flick, I wonder would it have been different had the likes of Kubrick or Scorsese had directed it!....Whatever it maybe, the title couldn't have been better for the gripping storyline of a murderer. And it's a beautiful story of a anti-hero which is spectacularly shot too.

Perfume, is the story of Jean-Baptiste Grenouille who's born in 18th Century Paris in one of the filthiest parts of the city, the city's Fish Market. His mother who's a fish-seller has had many miscarriages before and when the baby is born, she just discards him amidst a puddle of blood and rotten meat thinking that this one shall meet the same fate too. The baby responds to the external smells finally and eventually cries. His mother who accused of trying to kill her child, is hanged to death. Thus, Grenouille is sent to an orphanage and as he grows up, he realizes that he has an extraordinary sense of Olfactory and he uses this sense of scent and smell to recognize the things around him. After he grows up, he's sold to a Tannery. He survives the hazardous working conditions and one day he's taken to the city for a delivery. In the city, Jean sees a girl and enchanted by her scent, he follows her through the streets of Paris. Finally when he meets her, instead of talking to her, he stands behind her back and starts to inhaling her. The girl gets terrified and she tries to scream. Out of fear that someone would find out, Jean muffles her scream which eventually kills her. This disappoints Jean that he wasn't able to preserve the scent of such beauty, so he decides that he should try to learn to preserve the scent. One day, he meets Baldini who's the owner of a once famous Perfume shop in Paris. Jean impresses Baldini with his peculiar style of creating new perfumes and eventually Baldini agrees to teach him how to make great perfumes. He tells him that to create a truly entrancing perfume, it takes 12 "notes" and a final 13th to add that extra feature of uniqueness. Then Jean who thinks that, using the usual methods of producing a perfume out of roses, he can preserve the scent of almost everything. He begins experimenting with different things like metals, cat and so on...and finally realizes that the current procedure isn't sufficient. Then Baldini tells him that there's another method called enfleurage, but also that he doesn't know the exact procedure. Jean leaves the formulae to make 100 different perfumes for his freedom to go to Grasse, where he can learn more about enfleurage. But when Jean leaves the place, the building collapses and Baldini is killed. On his way to Grasse, Jean sleeps in a cave and one fine day, he wakes up and finds out that he cannot smell himself! As he enters Grasse, he sees a young beautiful girl and imprints her scent and image in his brain. His motive, to create the one of a kind perfume using all this olfactory senses. And for this, he decides that by capturing the scent of beautiful women he would be able to create such a thing. And what follows is a carefully planned murder or 13 different women to capture their scent without leaving any trace....

It would be unwise on my part to reveal what happens when he finally succeeds to make that deserves to be watched and then come to a conclusion whether it makes sense. Of course I don't claim that everyone would agree with each other, as seen from the reviews of various critics who have given this flick a 57% rotten rating on Rotten But it has all the points to make it a flick worth watching....what I loved in the flick was....

Acting: Ben Whishaw, who plays the role of Jean-Baptiste Grenouille, is brilliant. Such few dialouges, yet to be able to convey the message which this film intends to, is remarkable. His emotions in the end of the movie when he realises what he has done speak everything about his acting!
Dialouges: Kinda few, especially for the lead character. I wonder, what prompted Ben Whishaw to accept this role!....But others, who have it are crisp and well conveyed. The narration of the scenes is good enough.
Cinematography: It's one of the most splendidly shot movies that I have seen in recent times....colours are very rich and bright and gives a great feel to the whole movie. The way the new born baby is pictured in the beginning is quite gory but also at the same time tells a great deal about the conditions around....also the climax, phew! not words for it...[:)]
Music: Ah!!!....what can i say about just accentuates the mood of the scene...or should I say the scent of the Perfume!!...[:)]'s almost the music substitutes the dialogues especially of Jean-Bastite Grenouille in most of his scenes. It's like an invisible character in the story...

It's a good story which is sure to receive some mixed opinions...but nevertheless something which is wonderfully shot with great background score. This one is definitely going into my collection! Watch might turn out to be unexpected movie which will leave a good impression.

Check out the trailer of the movie....

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