Friday, August 29, 2014

Perfect Sense (2011)

Perfect SenseI first saw "Perfect Sense" at the 2011 Sundance Film Festival, and I can honestly say that it was one of the most visceral movie-going experiences of my life. I have never walked out of a theater so happy to be alivein a good way! Ever since then, I've been eagerly awaiting the opportunity to see it again. Unfortunately, the film didn't receive much of a theatrical release in the US, so I look forward to introducing it to my friends and fellow film lovers once it's released on Blu-ray.

To be fair, I can understand why "Perfect Sense" might not have got the release it deservedit's a hard film to categorize. The film focuses on two residents of Glasgow; a chef, Michael (Ewan McGregor, "Trainspotting") and an epidemiologist, Susan (Eva Green, "Casino Royale"), as they meet & begin to fall in lovemeanwhile, an unexplained illness begins to cause humans across the globe to lose their senses one-by-one. In the beginning, it's just a few people losing their ability to smell, but things escalate quite rapidly from there. While this might sound hokey (and usually is, on an indie budget), director David Mackenzie and his team succeed in evoking an effective & terrifying global disaster from a local perspective, and the film does enough to suggest plausible causes for its illness while keeping it ambiguous enough to allow the larger metaphor to shine through.

The effect of the disease is made even more immediate thanks to an interesting side effect: prior to each new sense that is lost, victims are hit with a uncontrollable wave of emotions, varying from despair to hunger. This leads to terrifying scenes such as crowds of people devouring everything in sight like animalsedible or not! These montages are quite effective at putting the viewer in this situationone can't help but imagine how you would feel if you were losing your connections to the world and had no control over it.

Adding to the cinematic power of the disease are the unique perspectives of our protagonists. As a chef, Michael finds his whole livelihood threatened with the loss of taste and smell, and struggles to adapt to a world with little needs beyond the base essentials of "flour and fat". Likewise, epidemiologist Susan finds herself on the front lines of the disease, desperately trying to understand an illness that is clearly beyond comprehension (and one could argue is punishment for humanity's sins).

With all the mysterious disease and global chaos, one might place "Perfect Sense" squarely in the burgeoning indie apocalypse/sci-fi genre (a la "Children of Men"). However, it's clear that "Perfect Sense"'s dark backdrop exists to illuminate the film's true focus: the romance between Michael & Susan. These two lovers are hardly an ideal pairboth come with their own set of very human flaws, sabotaging their efforts at intimacy and admittedly making it hard to relate to either of them at first. But for this reason, their relationship feels very real their flaws reflect humanity's flaws. Both Ewan McGregor & Eva Green give excellent performances, anchoring the film with their natural characters and physical chemistry, even while serving as metaphors for the whole human race. As Michael & Susan find themselves drawn together, each new sense that is lost brings an examination of what it means to be human, and what is most important to us in this world. In the end, when even our bodies betray us, the only solace to be found is in the people that we love.

It would be criminal of me to spoil all of the film's pleasures, but I must mention several other aspects that made "Perfect Sense" such a powerful experience. First, the supporting cast is fantastic, and collectively they sell the reality of the situation. The film features several familiar faces, including Connie Nielsen ("Gladiator"), Ewen Bremner (Ewan McGregor's "Trainspotting" co-star, "Black Hawk Down"), and Stephen Dillane (currently starring as Stannis Baratheon in HBO's "Game of Thrones").

Finally, and perhaps most importantly of all, I must call attention to the incredible score by Max Richter ("Shutter Island"). His beautiful and heart-breaking music on piano & strings was truly captivating, and hooked me into this emotional journey from the very first frames. Indeed, the score elevates the entire film, adding layers of emotional depth & power to the larger ideas the film could only visually suggest for the sake of budget. I hope somehow there is a soundtrack release, because if you're like me, once this music gets in your head you may not want it to leave!

"Perfect Sense" was one of my favorite films of 2011, and I am delighted that it is finally being released in America. It's not for everyone, but it may just make you appreciate the world more, and realize that the things we should value most aren't possessions, but people. I hope you walk out of "Perfect Sense" as I did thrilled and appreciative of the wonders of life, and filled with a desire to share them with your loved ones. As the narrator so eloquently states, "without love, there is nothing."

(Update 10/17/12: I just wanted to add that Max Richter's amazing soundtrack for "Perfect Sense" is now available to download in the U.S., via Amazon, iTunes, etc.)

Susan is a scientist who lives in her own little world, her entire life is devoted to research, while everything else is neglected. For Susan, it was all work and no play, until she meets Michael. A talented scientist meets a talented chef, and the sizzling romance begins. As one would expect, Susan's life begins to change, but so does the entire world she lives in. The more steamy the relationship, the more a new epidemic spreads. As the couple fall in love and share their feelings, people all around lose their sensory perception. As the romance become intense, the mysterious disease becomes more disturbing. The outcome is global chaos as the mystery continues. "PERFECT SENSE" is brilliant, powerful, romantic, and chilling. The acting is superb, and the story is both touching and thrilling. Highly recommended for romantic suspense lovers and thriller loves.

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The ineluctably disturbing aspects of "Perfect Sense" linger long after the movie ends. "Perfect Sense" is a poetic thriller that forces people to make sense of a world that is literally stripped of all its sensibilities. Slowly, one sense is lost, then another, across the world, and the viewer becomes directly involved in sly and clever ways. Will vision be lost next? And then what? How much more can possibly be lost? Ewan McGregor is satisfyingly atmospheric and Eva Green's dramatic starts and stops provide genuine intrigue. One can only hope that should the world end this way, and if we could possibly survive the perceptual annihilation, that we could once and for all come to our senses about how we treat each other and never lose sight of what really matters to us.

Read Best Reviews of Perfect Sense (2011) Here

"I think it's OK to panic now." A very serious disease strain has begun to cause havoc all over the world and it's called severe olfactory syndrome (SOS). It begins by smelling something that reminds you of someone you know who has died, then one by one you begin to lose your senses. During the outbreak chef Michael (McGregor) and scientist Susan (Green) begin to fall in love and their relationship is tested over and over as their senses begin to fail. Even the the plot may sound a little hokey this is actually a very good movie. At once the movie is both disturbing and sweet as well as erotic. The acting is fantastic as you believe that they are really losing their senses and you really begin to feel bad for them. To me this is a little scary because it makes me wonder if this could actually happen (from some chemical) and how I would act. This movie will give you hope and break your heart at the same time. I recommend this but it is a movie that will leave you worn out and not really in the mood to do anything after. Overall, a very good movie that is both disturbing and wonderful. I give it a B+.

Want Perfect Sense (2011) Discount?

Of all the movies that I have viewed this year, this one has to be up there with the best. The amazing direction of David Mackenzie, the lulling and mournful soundtrack by Max Richter and the photography by Giles Nuttgens (both beautiful and distressing combined) pull a metaphorical statement from beginning to end.

Michael (Ewan McGregor) is an executive chef who meets Susan (Eva Green), a saddened epidemiologist, after she returns home from examining a patient with a very disturbing affliction. Inexplicable, as he suddenly lost his sense of smell for no apparent reason. This continues on to several other people at first then runs amok.

These two begin an intimate relationship quite rapidly, as everything in this movie happens quickly and without warning with one exception: each person will fall into a severe emotional occurrence previous to losing their ability to smell.

Susan and her team give it the name 'Severe Olfactory Syndrome' (SOS) as it reaches epidemic proportions and spreads world wide. There are no explanations given as there is no time, therefore one must think on their own of how, why or what is happening. The movie heavily affects your time in reacting. It causes suspenseful anxiety to build readily and rapidly as you are left questioning the reasons why.

The erotic relationship between Michael and Susan hardly gets a chance to develop, as the rapid-fire affliction follows into another sense (taste) and similarly eradicates it. Michael is 'affected' and this is devastating to his career as is Susan affected also. The couple is growing more and more dependent on each other as the happenings around them are rapid fire and deconstructing.

The symptoms preceding the loss of the senses are bewildering, wonder-struck and deeply disturbing. People are losing control, panicking and literally start unstoppable eating of anything and everything (from lipstick to things you have got to see for yourself). The photography and camera angles are astounding in bringing this chaos to life as it is all out catastrophic.

People are running wild, rioting in the streets as everything is unsafe and sickness is omnipresent. There is so much to this movie that I wouldn't want to go on with the plot any longer as I would hate to ruin anyone's response to this movie...and your response itself is everything.

Running amid the course of the film are short plugged in narratives that work well. They serve to make you think, as this is a frightening portrait of annihilation in a very different form.

When someone loses one of their senses, it is usually just that one and devastating at least. The ending of this movie presents a whole alternative view to this, as tomorrow is no guarantee and "gather ye rosebuds while ye may".

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