Review: Perfume: The Story of a Murderer (2006)

perfume story of a murderer poster

“Each perfume contains three chords: the head, the heart and the base, necessitating 12 notes in all. The head chord contains the first impression, lasting a few minutes before giving way to the heart chord, the theme of the perfume, lasting several hours. Finally, the base chord, the trail of the perfume lasting several days.”
– Giuseppe Baldini

SYNOPSIS: Jean-Baptiste Grenouille came into the world unwanted, expected to die, yet born with an unnerving sense of smell that created alienation as well as talent. Of all the smells around him, Grenouille is beckoned to the scent of a woman’s soul, and spends the rest of his life attempting to smell her essence again by becoming a perfumer, and creating the essence of an innocence lost. – via IMDB

perfume creepy

So, it was movie day recently, and my friend is a huge fan of this movie. I have said for years I will get to it, and then never did (we all have that list), but now it has changed, and wow, I am glad I finally checked this movie out. I was entranced from the off, with the narrator telling us this weird and bizarre story (and John Hurt was a fantastic pick for this), from the way it was shot, everything. I have got to commend the way the film was directed, as well as the way it looked. So washed out and dreary, and yet things with beautiful smells had vivid colours, which in turn made me think of the scents tied to it.

The movie has this air of doom and creepiness hanging over it, this cannot be denied, the atmosphere is dark and broody, and Ben Whishaw is a fantastic Grenouille – he really just seems too damn off. You want to pity him, you do, and on the other hand, he is so outlandishly different you cannot help but recoil. The score suited this movie wonderfully, blending in, never taking over, always complementing. The performances, too, were impressive, and I thoroughly enjoyed the pacing of the movie. The storytelling and writing was brilliant because, while we know what Grenouille is doing is beyond heinous and wrong, we also want to see what will happen if he achieves his goal. Yes, it is that sick. It’s not about his success at killing these girls, it is just to see what he is willing to do about his obsession, how far he is willing to take it. I

have always known this movie to get a lot of hate, but I don’t understand that. It isn’t a bad movie at all. But then, maybe it is just too different, too weird, that it sets people on edge? It is dark, for sure, and it tells of Grenouille’s love story with smell, and later his obsession to forever capture it, and the story has many dark avenues it explores. Maybe because people took it too seriously, expected a realistic story, when it was so obviously not that from the off. I think the best way to describe this film would be disturbing. I honestly do, after the movie is over, you feel unsettled, yet the movie is put together well, incredibly well acted, very strange and out there, and it gets under your skin.

Perfume: The Story of a Murderer is dark, broody, creepy, unusual, fascinating and extremely lonely, and worth a watch at least once. I will definitely be seeking the book out now!

Rapid Review: In The Heart Of The Sea (2015)

in the heart of the sea poster

“We were headed for the edge of sanity… like we were aberrations, phantoms. Trust gave way to doubt. Hope to superstition.”
– Old Thomas Nickerson

SYNOPSIS: A recounting of a New England whaling ship’s sinking by a giant whale in 1820, an experience that later inspired the great novel Moby-Dick. – via IMDB

in the heart of the sea

GRADE 7Right off the bat, I must admit that I never read Moby Dick. Yes. There, I said it. I finally got around to seeing this, though. I was expecting a wasted, pointless film ultimately, because reviews came back less than favourable, although not scathing. Personally, I found the movie to be entertaining and engrossing, even though there were flaws. I think the biggest drawback to the film is that the cast is not utilised as well as it could be, so many of the cast members and their characters are grossly underused. I was, however, a fan of Melville getting the story from Nickerson, and creating Moby Dick from there. The film explores some of the darker, nastier things about surviving while shipwrecked that far out, and this is done really well. Just thinking about the lengths that these men had to go to to survive is just something else. Hemsworth delivers a solid performance, and Cillian Murphy is, as always, well worth watching. I’d watch him anywhere though. The cast works well together to spin the story of a whaling ship, desperate to get enough oil to return home, crazy enough to take on a monstrous whale and pay the cost. Not only that, the interpersonal relationships between them were also well done, fraught with politics, friendship, competition, and status. Visually, In The Heart of the Sea is stunning to look at, though this is something I did expect, if we are being honest. The costumes, the settings, everything looked good. I do feel, however, that the movie did play things very safe, but I was engrossed from the off, and my husband thoroughly enjoyed it, too, which I actually didn’t expect. It gets to emotional places that are sad, don’t get me wrong, but never pack the raw punch you are holding out for. Overall, In The Heart of the Sea is worth the watch, a film that I enjoyed watching and can recommend.

Rapid Review: Spectre (2015)

spectre poster

“You are a kite dancing in a hurricane, Mr Bond.”
– Mr White

SYNOPSIS: A cryptic message from Bond’s past sends him on a trail to uncover a sinister organization. While M battles political forces to keep the secret service alive, Bond peels back the layers of deceit to reveal the terrible truth behind SPECTRE. – via IMDB

SPECTRE DAY OF THE DEAD

GRADE 7After all this time I finally got to see Spectre over the weekend. I know, I am like the last person in the world to have watched this and to churn out a review for it, but so what? I have been looking forward to this movie for far too long. Right off the bat, I think people are being way too harsh on this movie. Granted, it is not like the other Craig Bond films we have come to expect, it wasn’t as serious or as gritty as the others, which is something that I missed, but it did not mean that there was nothing to love. Spectre was shot well, and looks great, and is carried by some solid performances. Craig is, of course, a phenomenal Bond and my favourite (though that is well known by now, I am sure), and Ben Whishaw makes for a wonderful Q, I still think that he represents a modernised Q perfectly. After I realised that this Bond might have more campier moments to it, I could even embrace the silly comments, and Q being a lot, uhm, more ridiculous than previously. He used to take things seriously, and next thing I know he is complaining about his cats and sniggering at his terribly awkward Aston jokes. Ralph Fiennes’s M started quite rocky here, as I definitely expected more backbone from his character. I have been itching to see Christoph Waltz take on Bond, and I was not disappointed. He was fantastic every moment he was on screen, which is nothing less than I expected. The man is such a phenomenal actor and excels at any role he decides to take on. I am totally looking forward to seeing more of his character in the upcoming Bond films, no ways did they bring him in just for this one. The scene with Madeleine and Bond in the traincar felt like a throwback to Casino Royale, but just didn’t sit right. In actual fact, there were tons of throwbacks to the older Bond films, and some worked better than others. I do enjoy how the last few Bond films (the Craig era) have all linked up nicely. Spectre also featured so much… well, Bond banging the world again, which was really disappointing, as the Craig Bonds have not really featured that aspect much, which was something I always appreciated. Monica Bellucci was case in point… she served no real purpose but to look beautiful. Léa Seydoux’s Dr Madeleine Swann was a really good Bond girl, she is a strong woman who can hold her own, so definitely a solid addition. Also, while Bautista may have been a villain of few words, I really liked him, and a throwback to the quieter henchman that just did their thing. I could not buy into South Africa being the holdouts on the whole Nine Eyes intelligence thing because, well, have you been reading anything smart about South Africa in the papers? Didn’t think so. Our government and intelligence agencies are a joke. Not even being nasty, but really, there is nothing there anymore, it’s embarrassing. I also really disliked that Sam Smith song Writing’s on the Wall (I have no idea who he is, I don’t listen to the radio, but he is not someone I will be listening to anytime soon – totally not my cup of tea), and I was no fan of the opening credits. I cringed. What a pity, too, because the whole octopus thing would have been fine, but instead was bordering on some extreme Hentai crap, and Daniel Craig could not have looked more awkward. Well, I am glad we got that out of the way. I was a huge fan of the opening sequence with the Day of the Dead parade, it was just gorgeous, but I do wish there had been some more to it. The action was top notch here, as always, and I liked little things in the movie that highlighted, once again, how emotionally damaged Craig’s Bond is (his flat that is bare, his drinking, how he can still not bare to deal with anything that touches on Vesper). Yes, Spectre has some drawbacks and shortcomings, and no, it was not quite the film I was expecting, but it is well worth a watch and it is fun, and it does go back to older Bond roots. It is totally not the disaster it has been painted.