Review of The Perfume

Review of The Perfume

The Perfume (Original German Title: Das Parfüm: Die Geschichte eines Mörders; Tom Tywker) 2006


One thing I will say now - I could not watch this movie a second time. I first saw this movie in my local library, but didn't rent it. Instead, a couple of months ago, I took the time to finally watch it.

The movie was not bad, don't get me wrong. In fact, it was a intoxicating feast, but it wasn't something I could sit through a second time and enjoy. The movie is disturbing in a beautiful way (is that possible?), and is horrible in the way life is.

Meet Jean-Baptiste Grenouille, an young man who was abandoned and nearly killed by his own mother, who gave birth to him in the ghettos of 18th Century France. Growing up, he had an extraordinary sense of smell - so strong he could identify the scent of wet grass from miles away.

As Jean grows older, he works as a leather tanner's apprentice, and his scent turns into an obsession as he stalks a young woman, and unintentionally suffocates her. Wishing to preserve scent forever, he meets an aging perfumer, impressing him with his recreation of a rival French perfumer's famous scent.

From here on, we see Jean's steady grow from an innocent man wanting one thing only to someone who will kill to succeed in his quest to discover that perfect perfume.

The movie is most certainly disturbing but the cinematography of the beautiful French countryside makes up for the dark underparts. The movie is wonderful but as I said before - it would not be on my "I feel like watching this movie today..." list.

It is an excellent work. I applaud it for that. For some reason, Jean's slow and steady fantasy about the perfume and his sanity hold you in a deep and twisted seduction, like a beautiful dark rose. You are none the less creeped out by it, but there is something there that keeps bringing you back.

This is a movie that will keep you thinking for a couple of days, in a good way. It makes us more aware of the power of scent, and how much control it has over the human mind.