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!