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The Perfumier – This Perfume is Cheap, and it Wears Off Quickly the Third Time Around

MOVIE REVIEW – In The Perfumer, written and directed by Nils Willbrandt, Emilia Schüle stars as Sunny, a German police detective with no sense of smell, and Ludwig Simon Dorian, a perfumer obsessed with creating the scent of love. Their story is linked in the most unusual way.

 

 

The film is very sketchily based on the popular German novel by author Patrick Süskind – the third adaptation of the original. The first adaptation was an international, big-budget feature film starring Ben Whishaw, Dustin Hoffman and Alan Rickman, made in 2006, and while not perfect, it was still the closest to the original novel. The second adaptation was a Netflix miniseries, also from Germany, made in 2018, which I haven’t had the pleasure of seeing yet, but it’s received generally good reviews, so I’ll probably watch it. That was set in a modern setting, as is this one, which unfortunately was the weakest of the bunch.

 

 

It doesn’t have much to do with the novel anymore

 

The Perfumer has almost nothing to do with the book, not only because of its modern setting, but also because of its plot, other than the fact that the killer is obsessed with a fragrance. If you want to see the original adaptation of the book, you’d be better off watching the aforementioned 2006 historical thriller film.

Right from the start of the film we jump into not one, but two stories. This makes for a strangely convoluted and whirlwind start, which then degenerates into a shallow, clichéd love story between the female detective Sonny (Emilia Schüle), the main character, and her male counterpart Juro (Robert Finster). The only interesting thing about Sonny is that he can’t smell or smell anything, but that doesn’t bother him too much in this extremely uninteresting love story.

The actual investigation into the murder of the perfumer takes a back seat at first and only gradually emerges, even though this is a story of two cops and the title of the film is The Perfumer. The Perfume Killer (here called Dorian) is played here by August Diehl, as in the aforementioned Perfume series (his name is Moritz de Vries). But this seems more like an afterthought than anything really important to the story. August Diehl’s performance gives the film a certain “starring” quality, but that’s about it. It’s essentially a cameo of sorts for him, which is kind of funny since we’re talking about the title character.

 

 

It’s Sunny’s story, which is both cathartic and uninteresting

 

The whole story is told from Sunny’s point of view, who constantly narrates the events in a deadpan way, as if she were some sort of female Rick Decard from the original Blade Runner movie version. Moreover, this constant narration completely imposes itself on the story and fails to disguise the fact that not much is actually happening on screen.

The viewer has no chance to meet these characters or get to know them. No one seems to care about the murders. Every scene is quickly followed by Sunny’s constantly rehearsed narration. And despite a monumental amount of explanation from our protagonist, the plot ultimately makes very little sense. And stylistically, the whole film is a mess. It tries too hard to be arty with its use of close-ups and blurry colours, but it just looks unnecessarily pretentious.

The perfumer took an originally interesting concept and through hard work the filmmakers made it boring and confusing. The main character’s actions are almost impossible to understand, all the other characters are one-dimensional, some characters are completely meaningless to the plot, and the story doesn’t really have any point. There is a lot of telling, very little showing, and overall The Perfumer is a feeble attempt at a thriller that reworks a now familiar story.

-BadSector-

MOVIE REVIEW - In The Perfumer, written and directed by Nils Willbrandt, Emilia Schüle stars as Sunny, a German police detective with no sense of smell, and Ludwig Simon Dorian, a perfumer obsessed with creating the scent of love. Their story is linked in the most unusual way.     The film is very sketchily based on the popular German novel by author Patrick Süskind - the third adaptation of the original. The first adaptation was an international, big-budget feature film starring Ben Whishaw, Dustin Hoffman and Alan Rickman, made in 2006, and while not perfect, it was still the…
The perfumer took an originally interesting concept and through hard work the filmmakers made it boring and confusing. The main character's actions are almost impossible to understand, all the other characters are one-dimensional, some characters are completely meaningless to the plot, and the story doesn't really have any point. There is a lot of telling, very little showing, and overall The Perfumer is a feeble attempt at a thriller that reworks a now familiar story.

The Perfumier

Rendezés - 4.8
Actors - 4.6
Story - 3.6
Visuals/Music/Sounds - 5.6
Ambience - 5.4

4.8

WEAK

The perfumer took an originally interesting concept and through hard work the filmmakers made it boring and confusing. The main character's actions are almost impossible to understand, all the other characters are one-dimensional, some characters are completely meaningless to the plot, and the story doesn't really have any point. There is a lot of telling, very little showing, and overall The Perfumer is a feeble attempt at a thriller that reworks a now familiar story.

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