fbpx

PERFUME: THE STORY OF A MURDERER

Director: TOM TYKWER

GERMANY-FRANCE-SPAIN • 2006 • ENGLISH DIALOGUE • COLOUR • ANAMORPHIC • DOLBY DIGITAL STEREO • 147 MIN


IN ADAPTING PATRICK SÜSKIND’S 1985 NOVEL, GERMAN DIRECTOR TOM TYKWER (RUN, LOLA, RUN) FACED TWO SEEMINGLY INSURMOUNTABLE PROBLEMS. HOW TO VISUALISE THE OLFACTORY SENSATIONS OF ITS AROMAOBSESSED PROTAGONIST. AND HOW TO MAKE US IDENTIFY WITH (OR AT LEAST FEEL SOME SYMPATHY FOR) A MUTE AMORAL LONER LACKING IN BOTH HUMANITY AND EMPATHY.
Miraculously, the film not only evokes the vivid smells and sights of the book’s 18th century setting, it also features a seductive performance by British actor Ben Wishaw, as the abused orphan child who grows up to be a precociously talented apprentice perfumier and a feared serial killer. With his acutely refined sense of smell, Jean- Baptiste Grenouille soon outstrips his ageing employer, Baldini (Dustin Hoffman), reviving his business with bold new perfumes. But a fateful encounter with a beautiful plum-seller (Karoline Herfurth) sets Grenouille on his allconsuming quest. Dedicating his life to capturing the lingering scents of beautiful women, Grenouille moves to Grasse to study the revolutionary new science of enfleurage—a chemical process designed to extract a flower’s essential oil and heady scent. But like other obsessive artists, Grenouille all too often kills the thing he loves. Alarmed by the murders of several young women, sharp-witted merchant Richis (Alan Rickman) plays catand- mouse with the elusive killer, determined that his own beautiful daughter, Laura (Rachel Hurd-Wood), should not end up as a clean-shaven corpse. Although it lacks the cruel authorial ironies of Suskind’s arch, sensual novel, Tykwer’s extraordinary film—awash with a heady musical score—builds confidently to an ecstatic, orgiastic finale.—Nigel Floyd.

Book Tickets

}