Perfume: The Story of a Murderer (2006)

Discussion in 'Movies' started by Henry Gale, Oct 22, 2006.

  1. Henry Gale

    Henry Gale Producer

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    About 20 years ago I read Patrick Süskind’s novel, PERFUME The story of a Murderer. The novel had quite an effect and stuck with me for a long time. Perhaps the fact that I have a more acute sense of odors than many other people was a factor.
    Always wanted to see the story on screen and a couple of nights ago at the Austin Film Festival I got my wish, and how!
    Tim Tywer, best known to me for Run Lola Run directed this film.
    Ben Whishaw plays the “title character” and the best-known members of the cast would be Dustin Hoffman, Alan Rickman and Rachel Hurd-Wood. John Hurt contributes the narration.
    The story is set in 18th Century France but was filmed in Munich Germany and several locations in Spain including Barcelona.
    Jean-Baptiste Grenouille was born into conditions that really could not have been less promising. Miraculously he survives and in the course of events is mentored by the fading perfumer Giuseppe Baldini (Hoffman).
    This screening was not a convenient time for me. Ninety minutes from my home and a need to get there early for tickets. Then there was the 10:15 PM start time.
    Just before the screening we were told that the film was 2:40 long. This information produced many groans from the audience.
    As soon as the movie started I just sat up and took in as much as I could for what seemed like not much more than an hour. It was beautiful, and of course, a bit ghastly.
    I do not want to give anything away but when you see this, and I trust you will, watch for one of the most audacious uses of hundreds of extras in film history.
    The film goes wide in the United States on January 5th.
     
  2. MatthewLouwrens

    MatthewLouwrens Producer

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    So it's worth seeing?

    I really loved the book when I read it last year, although it did turn out to be quite different from what I was expecting. For a start, in a book subtitled The Story Of A Murderer, I think I was expecting more killings.
    But despite the book not being what I was anticipating, it was an astonishing read, highly recommended, and I'm eagerly looking forward to the film version.
     
  3. ErichH

    ErichH Screenwriter

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    It is very much worth seeing. I imagine it will put off a portion of the US audience. There are very few (if any) tricks in this. Just a large cast of extras, and careful attention to the set/costume design. Well done in those areas IMO.

    It has a fairy tale quality from the start, due to the tone of John Hurt's narration. If you don't give in to this old tale quality, it spoils the fun. I certainly did (perhaps I was in the mood last night) and felt rewarded by a rare film. I remember this type of quality from Name Of The Rose - also a German/American co-op.

    Dustin Hoffmans role is short but typically good in his recent stye for bit parts. Alan Richman eats the screen as usual, which is great. His suspicious father role is well cast is this one. Both look puffy and powdered in their period clothes.

    Of the many beautiful women, the first scent of note (shall we say) is the stunning Karoline Herfurth, as a girl offering plums on the street. She will stick with you and with our protaginest through out the story. In spite of her short screen time, she is the essence that hurls the story into gear.

    I have no idea how it will do, but if you like The Red Violin, NOTRose mentioned above, this will please.

    Think `Once Upon A Time' with a twist [​IMG]

    E
     
  4. JohnRice

    JohnRice Lead Actor

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    I love Tykwer's movies, and have been looking forward to this. I hope he has gotten past his tendency to make such rich visuals that they actually tend to bring the movie itself to a halt. Did either of you who have seen it ever get the feeling this was happening for you? Probably the best (or maybe worst) example of him doing this is in The Princess and the Warrior.
     
  5. Holadem

    Holadem Lead Actor

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    One of the most unpleasant, yet fascinating books I have ever read (like a million years ago) and if the movie is anything like the book, I can't imagine it will do very well, even with the AMPAS. But then again, Quills was well received in those circles.

    What I really want to see in gory details is the public execution scene at the end [​IMG].

    Tywker fan as well, just based on Lola, Heaven and Princess.

    Thx for starting this thread, I didn't know this was even in the works.

    --
    H
     
  6. ErichH

    ErichH Screenwriter

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    Short answer - No. There were a few wide exterior shots, but nothing that slows the pace. The bulk of the shoot is interior, in poor sections of the city streets or the perfumer's basement/workshop. An interesting set BTW, and the brunt of a nice comic relief mid way through.

    As for the final 2 scenes (Trial & End) I'd say these are moments where the tale finally gives way to fantasy (assuming you don't count the entire story a fantasy) They will draw the most criticism, but they also serve the story's end perfectly. The trial in the screener will probably suffer a massive edit before it hits the US theaters, and not because of any violence.

    Holedem, check it out here - http://www.apple.com/trailers/dreamworks/perfume/

    E
     
  7. Abby_B

    Abby_B Supporting Actor

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    I watched the trailer for this this morning, and I loooooooved it. Loved. It was so good - intense and atmospheric and just cool. What a beautiful looking movie. (And, well, Alan Rickman. I am a sucker for anything with Alan Rickman in it!)

    I've never read the book this is based on, and now I kind of want to, it looks so interesting. (Worth it?) Definitely an original story.
     
  8. MatthewLouwrens

    MatthewLouwrens Producer

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    Absolutely. It is quite a unique read - fascinating, intriguing, elegant, and disturbing. The thing to realise about the book is that the main character's sense of smell is so finely honed and strong, and the book replicates that by almost telling the story as much through descriptions of smell as through actual action. And it works brilliantly.
     
  9. Abby_B

    Abby_B Supporting Actor

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    That sounds beautiful! I love stories that are different like that. It sounds really good. Who wrote it, do you know off the top of your head?

    That's the sense I got from the trailer too, that everything was sort of very tied in to basic senses - sight and smell and color and stuff. It looks very intense but also sort of beautiful and ethereal at the same time, if that makes sense. I'm so definitely checking this out. December 27th is when it's released in the states, I believe.
     
  10. Matt Czyz

    Matt Czyz Supporting Actor

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    The author is Patrick Suskind. It's not a long read at all, and his descriptions of the world of scent are incredible. Definitely read it if you have the chance.
     
  11. Abby_B

    Abby_B Supporting Actor

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  12. Henry Gale

    Henry Gale Producer

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    First sentence, first post.
     
  13. Henry Gale

    Henry Gale Producer

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    Last sentence, first post:

    "The film goes wide in the United States on January 5th."
     
  14. Lucia Duran

    Lucia Duran Screenwriter

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    While you were sitting in the theater did you happen to notice a faint caramel smell.... all kidding aside, I want to see this film.

    I first came upon this book when a friend mentioned how her book club was going to read it. So I checked it out adn I must say at first it was a bit hard for me to get into, but after a another try I did enjoy it.
     
  15. Abby_B

    Abby_B Supporting Actor

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    That must have changed recently then - the official US site says the 27th. Maybe it's a limited release on the 27th, but I'm hopeful that it'll be at a theater near me at that point.
     
  16. hikura3

    hikura3 Auditioning

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    I have not read the book but is the character supposed to be devoid of human emotion because in the movie he is in love with the first woman he kills. The movie is quite dark overall but the public execution scene is nothing gory at all, almost a fairy tale ending.
     
  17. Henry Gale

    Henry Gale Producer

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    * ArcLight Hollywood (Hollywood,CA)
    * Lincoln Plaza Cinemas (New York,NY)

    Wednesday December 27th!
     
  18. Henry Gale

    Henry Gale Producer

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    OK..
    Three theaters in Austin and one in San Antonio.

    Because Austin is, you know...
     
  19. Henry Gale

    Henry Gale Producer

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    Why I trust, and love, Roger Ebert...
    A bit of his review...

    "This is a dark, dark, dark film, focused on an obsession so complete and lonely it shuts out all other human experience. You may not savor it, but you will not stop watching it, in horror and fascination. Whishaw succeeds in giving us no hint of his character save a deep savage need. And Dustin Hoffman produces a quirky old master whose life is also governed by perfume, if more positively. Hoffman reminds us here again, as in "Stranger than Fiction," what a detailed and fascinating character actor he is, able to bring to the story of Grenouille precisely what humor and humanity it needs, and then tactfully leaving it at that. Even his exit is nicely timed.

    Why I love this story, I do not know. Why I have read the book twice and given away a dozen copies of the audiobook, I cannot explain. There is nothing fun about the story, except the way it ventures so fearlessly down one limited, terrifying, seductive dead end, and finds there a solution both sublime and horrifying. It took imagination to tell it, courage to film it, thought to act it, and from the audience it requires a brave curiosity about the peculiarity of obsession.
    "
     
  20. Patrick Sun

    Patrick Sun Moderator
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    This was a weird, but fascinating to watch film as it unfolded with a leisurely pace. Viewers are treated to a lead character whose obsession knew no societal bounds, and he would go to unimaginable lengths to capture a person's unique smell.

    Can't say it'll appeal to a lot of folks, but Tykwer's directorial flourishes do nothing to undercut this look into such a character like Grenouille who was blessed with a highly honed sense of smell, while suffering from deficiencies to handle lust, attraction of the opposite sex, but has no qualms about murdering for the sake of creating the odorific essense of people. The guy was simply born with no gag reflex to murder, and could sense people's activities with a simple sniff in the air.

    The story does have a fairy tale angle to it, and it's best to treat it as such, but one for adults. I wonder what Grenouille would have thought about Calvin Klein's Obsession.

    I give it 2.75 stars, or a grade of B-.
     

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