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When I read the synopsis for _Perfect Sense_, I was expecting an
apocalyptic romance. I was wrong. Such a description is too neat. This
is more than escapist entertainment. It is an experience to be savored.
Its story is deceptively simple. It weaves a richer fabric than any casual touch will detect. Those who think its central device capricious (the disease and its development) give themselves too much credit for discerning the logic of their own lives. An illness may seem to follow no obvious or satisfying plot, but who can say whether any "misfortune" fails to follow a narrative too subtle for the prejudice of those who feel injured by it? Those who require every story to have a tidy, forensic resolution, with an indictable perpetrator for every ordeal, on whom they can unleash their outrage in order to achieve "closure," are the victims of their own narrow interpretation. Most pain is not conspiracy. The shared affliction of this story is poetic metaphor; however, like most good art, this film is about its characters, not its literary devices.
The cast's performances are not only authentic, they are illuminating; particularly Ewan McGregor's and Eva Green's central couple. Were they mere victims, their story would be hopeless tragedy. Instead, theirs is the account of an ordinary and vulnerable man and woman with extraordinary resilience, who attack, then embrace each other, stumbling over their circumstances as they learn to transcend them.
**A Brief Response to ArizWldcat's One-star Review**
If those at the premiere who asked questions after the screening (during the Q&A) are a representative sample of the audience, few of Mr. Mackenzie's viewers got the "point" of his film. One person asked the director what message or meaning he hoped we, his audience, would take from his film. He looked nonplussed at this question. He responded that the viewer had to answer that for himself.
It seems that Mr./Ms. ArizWldcat was one of those who expected this film to be easily categorized and to reaffirm a specific, pre-determined view of the world, such as a feel-good romance or a psychological thriller. The guy gets the girl and they save the world in the process, all portrayed through a predictably formulaic sequence of events. Everyone lives happily ever after. By those prerequisites, we would also be forced to give _Hamlet_ or _Citizen Kane_ one out of ten stars.
_Perfect Sense_ is a film whose "point" is not to make its audience comfortable or to provide the adrenaline buzz of a "thriller." Its purpose is to portray authentic human experience in an impossible situation. It did so admirably. It is one of the most hopeful films I have ever seen.
I wouldn't want to say a lot about the story. Perfect Sense is a film
you have to see, taste, smell, listen. It's not a Contagion - like
movie, it's not a zombie one either, but it could definitely be a post
- apocalyptic reality check.
We could, but we wouldn't want to imagine something like that happening, yet again "what if". How strong is the human heart and mind and how could we adapt in such a massive change? This film might suggest a hint.
Ewan McGregor plays a chef that somehow gets involved with Eva Green, a scientist. Then, all that matters is how these two characters cope with an epidemic that bursts, depriving people their senses.
I found this film quite enlightening, the performances intense, the music appropriate and, last but not least, the photography/ filming magnificent. Great work from the director David Mackenzie. The end was mind blowing, for me.
Keep an open mind, look at the big picture and it'll be worth your time.
I don't know where to start, but it was quite an eye opener, since civilization began there are certain things that we take for granted, The basic things like our senses you will only realise it when you lose them.... as they say "Perhaps only in a world of the blind will things be what they truly are".. To understand the true beauty of life, you need to know what being alive is all about. After watching the movie I felt that it answered some of my questions... I think everyone should watch this movie... you might find it a bit slow phased but believe me it's a ride worth going for.... Ewan McGregor has done a marvellous job and so did Eva Green, the direction is flawless and it moves like poetry. Please watch this movie....
Yes, it's a romantic film. There's a lot of light-hearted stuff in the
mix. But the concept of what inevitably will happen and the events
mapping the way were frightening to me. I had a very present fear that
the same thing could happen to me, silly as that sounds. I felt like
I'd been punched in the stomach at the end.
My roommate and I watched this and Contagion on the same night. Compared to this, Contagion was a let down and almost boring--not denying that it was a really good film, it just wasn't as polished. Perfect Sense had so much STYLE and kept us glued to the screen. It was so entertaining! I think it's my favorite "world might be ending" movie of all time. I've never been so satisfied by a film of this genre before.
I won't spend a lot on the synopsis since most have already explained
it. Simply put, this movie is a story of two people who fall in love
just as an epidemic spreads across the world ridding people of their
five senses, one by one.
Personally, I loved the film! It is a beautiful film to look at, even in the most devastating of scenes. I felt multiple emotions throughout the film, of which I felt the movie accomplished well. There are scenes that may make you laugh, scenes that may make you feel tense, scenes that may make you shed some tears, scenes that may make you feel more appreciative of what you have in life.
Now like I said in the title of this review this film is not for everyone. Some will find it silly or weird such as the symptoms that precede the loss of each sense (an example includes a massive consumption of everything in sight, from flowers to lipstick to a whole can of mustard). Some may also feel the movie is too optimistic in an end-of-the-world-scenario. You will either go with the film or you won't. I went with it and was thoroughly moved.
I've read multiple reviews on this film, and it seems that many people take different things away from it. That is what I think makes a great film, when people are left to discuss after the credits roll. This is definitely one of my most favorites films in a while, and I wouldn't hesitate to watch it again.
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
Of all the senses, smell most strongly connects us to memory and the
past. Taste locks us into the present. Hearing and sight help us
navigate through the world. It is touch, however, that connects us
intimately to each other.
"Perfect Sense' presents a pre-apocalyptic event, the loss, on a global scale, of the senses one by one. Michael and Susan are flawed individuals, a chef and a doctor, carrying their scars and regrets through Glasgow's world of bright young things, two individuals who find each other just as the world loses everything.
Eva Green as Susan is instantly charismatic, a strong-willed, demanding woman who sets high standards because she knows she deserves it. At the same time, she fears no one can live up to her demands. McGregor gets to test his range as Michael, going through women like short-orders in his kitchen, with just as much attention and interest. When he meets his match in Susan, he has to face that he has found what he has been looking for all his life, and now a pandemic will take it away. His loss proves the most profoundly moving element of the film.
McKenzie films Glasgow in glory and decay, making wonderful use of water and reflected light as he did in Young Adam. The hard jar of the camera on a bicycle sans steadicam is a brave choice, but it draws your attention to visual sense and foreshadows the losses about to fall. Before each sense is lost there is a brief intense burning of that sense. This is most effectively portrayed in a canny use of sound when Susan stops the car, winds down the window, and the cacophony of sound in our world, starting with church bells and extending to screeching parrots, rushes in on the two silent, fearful lovers.
There is one missed beat, when Susan takes the huff because of what Michael says in his virus-induced rage before losing a sense. With the world coming to an end all around you, it stretches credulity to think she'd throw a strop over some bilious comments - especially as a medic. But it does set up a beautiful denouement, the lovers desperately searching for reconciliation as the world gradually, then suddenly, stops functioning.
This is a moving film, a thought-provoking one, about love, connection, and all the things we take for granted. An antidote to bombastic, finger-wagging fare such as Day After Tomorrow, it earns your tears at several moments. Quite possibly Mackenzie's best film to date.
Perfect Sense turns out to be a flavor-rich drama with absorbing
performances from the lead pair Ewan McGregor & Eva Green. And I would
categorize it as a perfectly made scifi drama, alongside the likes of
Eternal Sunshine & Children of Men.
The narrative style and the evolving storyline makes it an enjoyable drama. It doesn't shoulder the burden of a beginning or an end, the genesis of an epidemic or an apocalyptic vision. Instead its all depicted in the background, thus making the movie enlivening. And never ever did i get a dark vibe, for with each phase it moves on just the way its shown in the movie. And then finally we don't pity, rather, we empathize and be part of that world.
Thankfully, we don't have surreal gimmickry or plot viagra's in the movie - as its common and indispensable in scifi & romantic flicks - which makes it artistic and cinematic. Loved every bit of this extraordinary movie experience.. :)
"There is darkness. There is light. There are men and women. There's
food. There are restaurants. Disease. There is work. Traffic. The days
as we knew them. The world as we imagine the world." That's the epic
After watching the movie, you will start to realize the things we do and the things we don't do. The conclusion will be to start taste the joy, hear the colors and see the sun.
The acting by Ewan McGregor and Eva Green is fitting very well to the plot. I think 2012 will be a good year for BBC films.
A perfect way to start 2012!
Even after watching it, I still don't know if it's brilliant or pathetic. It's something between "The tree of life" and "Blindness". For those who managed to watch it till the end, it will be definitely disturbing. Photography is amazing. Some disgusting scenes that could have been cut, some great ones that will make you remember your own past.I enjoyed specially Eva's "Blade Runner style" narration, with all those thoughts about love and the meaning of life. Maybe that's what the movie is all about, love is the only thing that makes sense in our lives. Anyway, at the end I realized that a movie who brings us such controversial feelings, is a far from being pathetic.
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
A global pandemic is about to shatter the world and irrevocably change
the human race. It starts with an emotional breakdown- the brain
responding to the first stages of infection by frying receptors in the
Limbic system. Those infected flare up with overpowering grief,
sadness, despair. And then their sense of smell fails. It is this
touchstone moment of emotion before the loss of one of the five senses,
which brings the two main characters together and it is their shared
experience of a planet-wide neurological disorder that brings us into
the film. One by one, emotions rage, and other senses fail. Taste,
followed by, hearing
and finally in the last crushing blow to a
society struggling to hold on- sight.
If this plot sounds too much like science-fiction or derivative of a nail-biting season finale of House, fear not, it is merely the backdrop for an exploration of the human condition. What makes use who we are? We are fragile, unstable creatures even at our best- but sometimes resilient and courageous when at our worst. The science behind the epidemic is never explained and there's no pretense of curing it. So quickly do the symptoms take effect, that the film's inhabitants are left with little more to do than make the most out of the time left and strive to achieve something beyond their base- to champion their souls and fight against the crushing illness and the loss of that which has identified them for so long.
If you are familiar with Scottish Director David Mackenzie's early works, the outline of the film's premise makes it fairly easy to see why he chose to bring Danish writer, Kim Fupz Aakeson's screenplay to life. His seminal works have laid the foundations for the new resurgence of Scottish film. While contemporary and far more well known Scotsman, Danny Boyle, enlivens his films with bold color, sharp edits, and a signature kinetic energy, in an appeal to a mass audience, Mackenzie chooses instead to wash his films in the rust of the Edinburgh shipping lanes, blanket them in the heavy slate sky of the highlands, and dampen each soul within his camera's frame with the weight of the world. In films like Asylum and Young Adam his lens is a dystopian one, tackling a somber reality and exploring the depths of human weakness with an unflinching, if almost depraved honesty. Then- he went on to direct an Ashton Kutcher sex comedy. For that we can forgive him, because Perfect Sense brings him back to form.
His fellow collaborators rise to the artistic merits of this piece as well. Cinematographer Giles Nuttgens (who we can all agree owes us many more great films like this to make up for lensing the worst film of all time, Battlefield Earth) gives this film a clarity and gentle depth of field that allows the viewer to sink into the story and goes on to highlight the emotional and psychological pay-offs of the dynamic plot. Composer Max Richter, one of the unsung stars of his craft, brings about a gentle piano score- it serves the story in the best possible way: never intruding, only elevating. Star Ewan McGregor also puts forth some of his best work to date. His previous collaboration with Mackenzie brought us Young Adam, and with the same visual tableau on display here, it could have been easy to start seeing shades of that unsettling character when this particular story deserved a much subtler approach. McGregor shines in a difficult role and helps guide the audience through the strange tale. Eva Green is perfectly cast. Her striking features and cool, collected demeanor can sometimes be so visually arresting and emotionally blunt that she distracts. But here she plays to her natural strengths as an actress and serves as a bellwether for the societal apocalypse to come.
We follow these two characters, McGregor a chef, Green an epidemiologist brought to Scotland to study the mysterious illness, through the stages of breakdown, the loss of senses one by one. We see the world spiraling out of control through their heroic struggle to hold on- to enjoy a meal without smell or taste, to take the time to appreciate a church bell's ringing or a child crying, knowing it may well be the last time they hear anything at all. Around them we see the slow breakdown of the human condition for some: rioting, chaos, the loss of will. But we also see reminders of our strengths. People dining out just for he pure experience of buying someone else a drink and being waited on. Or later in the film, lone citizens walking the streets after a riot, resetting bikes on their racks or stridently sweeping up glass shards- refusing to let the gradual loss of their senses define who they are as people.
The film itself makes bold choices. When the pandemic begins to affect the sense of hearing, the sound drops out, and yes when the illness finally takes away one's sight, the screen goes dark as well; but the film plays on. It's a bit tough to describe any further, as that would be giving away too much. Remember, this is not about a film about curing disease; it's about who we are as people. And rather surprisingly considering his previous films and the dark subject matter of this film, David Mackenzie seems to think there is a lot to champion about humanity. That despite all our imperfections, there is a little spark of something pure and almost holy within each of us that isn't defined by how we interpret the world, or, quite literally, how we feel. It is defined and strengthened by what we do. When everything else is going wrong around you and the world is slowly fading to dark- what one does in that exact moment is what defines a soul.
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