Bopping with Niall JP O'Leary

Niall O'Leary insists on sharing his hare-brained notions and hysterical emotions. Personal obsessions with cinema, literature, food and alcohol feature regularly.

Thursday, October 13, 2011

Perfect Sense

You don't know what you've got till it's gone.
The premise of David Mackenzie's 'Perfect Sense' is so high concept it's practically Hollywoodian, though the movie itself is very far from that. Around the world a strange ailment causes people to burst out crying in uncontrollable grief. When this crying fit passes the victim has lost their sense of smell. Sadly this is only the beginning of bad things happening which is bad news for young lovers Ewan McGregor and Eva Green.
The good points: Green is not the most expressive of actors, but she pushes herself a little here, while McGregor, playing a self-professed arsehole, is excellent. Max Richter's melancholy score reminds one of the days when Nyman wrote simple music for simple films; more Mr Richter, more. And despite being set in Glasgow, it looks well.
On the negative side, the script falls short, with a story that is perhaps too simplistic, following an easy trajectory too easily. Despite being an epidemiologist, Eva's doctor really sheds little light on the 'illness'. Yes, this isn't Hollywood, but still if you're going to have a gun on the mantelpiece, use it by the third act. From a character perspective, the lovers really don't deserve the sympathy that the actors win for them, both being self-professed arseholes. Their sometimes portentous repartee doesn't always help. So problems in the writing. Besides the screenplay though, and almost fatally, director Mackenzie doesn't always know when he's pushing things into absurdity. The sight of a three year old standing in a sweetshop in floods of tears (about to lose his sense of smell), is almost too unintentionally funny to get past. For some in the audience I saw the film with it was too much too early on and they left. Yes, Mackenzie makes some errors of judgement, but if you stick with it and buy into his obvious delight in the things that make life worth living, 'Perfect Sense' might just strike an emotional chord.
Recently Malick's 'Tree of Life' was a cinematic hymn to life; this, in its downbeat, secular way, is a paean to the senses. Despite its flaws - and they are many - it just about succeeds in its praise.
You should see it ...while you can.

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