Tuesday, March 13, 2007

The Perfume: The Story of a Murderer, an honest effort to do justice to the book but nothing more

Every film that is based on a popular book takes a big risk. The ones that have already read the book will judge the film severely. They will compare it no only to the text of the book but to the fantasy images they formed themselves while they read it. Therefore the film is already popular the moment it comes out taking advantage of the fame of the book. On the other hand it is forced to meet all the preconceptions of the readers.
Before commenting on the film I have to confess that I have read the book. It’s been years since I read it but I can still remember the big impression it had on me. While reading I could feel a slight perfume drifting on the air. Under these circumstances I would say that I am not the most suitable person to comment on this film. In the first place I wasn ’t very sure that I even wanted to watch it. I was afraid that it might destroy my memories from the book. The film however managed to win me over at least at some extend. Adequately faithful to the book the film manages to present all the key elements of the plot. The script is coherent enough with suspense and the proper peaks of anxiety. Why though, a script that has been so close to the book creates a completely new scene in the end of the film? Why is the somewhat provocative scene of the orgy needed? Is it there just for the provocation? Or they need it in order to create a peak right after the break according to the classical Hollywood narrative style? In any case I think that the scene is redundant. Another thing that it bothers me in the script is that the fact that the hero doesn ’t have any personal smell is only insinuated and not emphasized as it should have been. The
lack of personal smell is very important in the book as it is one of the main motives of the hero’s effort to create the perfect perfume. The perfume he creates will supplement his own smell giving him the opportunity not only to just fit in the world ( he has always been an outcast) but also to take his revenge on the society that has rejected him. by creating the perfct perfume he can be anything he wants, king or even a god. In the film the personal smell of the girls is a symbol of their beauty, youth and potential. The murderer kills them in order to find a way to preserve all that beauty,freshness and potential. If any of those young women aged their beauty
would wither and fade away. As a result, the film remains faithful to the
facts of the book. But it has a different interpretation of the facts that are presented.
Aesthetically, the detailed images with the rich colors convey convincingly enough the sense of smell. The powerful warm colors of the province make the spectator almost feel the luscious perfumes of the nature and the murdered girls. It is a film that achieves to be almost as sensual as it the book.
In the end though Perfume remains a mediocre film. It doesn’t insult your ntelligence. It tries to convey the unique atmosphere of the book but it doesn’t manage to add something, its own characteristic smell to the myth. It is an honest effort but nothing more. After all these perfumes and colors it remains rather odorless and colorless.

It has
taken me long time to post something new at my blog. I am sorry. Both
my work and my studies have taken most of my time. I have seen plenty
of movies during this time and i am determined to do some catching up
at the blog so .....stay tuned!

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