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by Willie Waffle

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Perfume: The Story Of A Murderer

Going to the movies all of the time is a great deal of fun, but can become monotonous when you see a string of average movies.  Then, the Movie Critic Gods throw you a bone like Perfume: The Story of a Murderer, which is so bad it’s not just one of the worst movies of the year.  It’s one of the worst movies EVER, like Gigli or Basic Instinct 2 or any movie featuring the Olsen Twins.  Sadly, what makes it worse is the movie’s own pretentiousness, smugness and the feeling that it should be much better than it is because everyone involved in the film should be more competent than this. 

Perfume stars Ben Wishaw as Jean-Baptiste – a young man unwanted from birth (and let me tell you about that birth, which is the worst, silliest, most ridiculous scene I have witnessed with my own two eyes, until later in the movie, when something just as moronic tops it.  See, Jean-Baptiste’s mother is pregnant with him and working down at the docks gutting fish for sale.  In the middle of the work day, she graphically goes into labor, sits down in the foot tall pile of fish guts, squirts out baby Jean-Baptiste amid screams and cries that can only be heard when a baby seal is captured by a killer whale, then KICKS THE BABY ASIDE WITH HER FOOT, so she can go back to work as the new born lies among the fish heads!!!!!  DAMN!).  Jean-Baptiste, who doesn’t speak very much, soon finds himself living at an orphanage, and is fascinated by smells.  He has superhuman olfactory ability, and obsessively, psychotically, wants to take in every odor, beautiful and gut wrenching alike. 

After a short stint studying the art of making perfume, Jean-Baptiste heads off for more formal training and finds inspiration to make the greatest perfume ever. However, to do so, he must take the scent of beautiful young ladies to serve as the base, and they aren’t too keen on having a creepy mute guy slather them in some sort of animal fat, then have it scraped off of their naked bodies with a sickle (buddy, that costs extra!).  So, how does Jean-Baptiste plan on getting their scent?  Yep, he kills them, so they cannot resist the slathering and sickle.

Will the misguided serial murderer be able to get all the girls’ scents he needs before he is caught?  How good is this perfume?           

Normally, this is the part of the movie where I tell you to avoid this stinker at all costs, but I almost feel like that would be depriving you of the most unintentionally funny time you will ever have at a movie theater.  Perfume is one of those movies you want to see, then tell your friends how horrific it was, while laughing so hard you might need to go to the emergency room for a sprained funny bone.  It’s like a right of passage. 

You have to understand, Perfume starts off on the wrong foot with the wrong tone, and stories that don’t seem to go together, then keeps stumbling and bumbling its way to a climax half the people who buy tickets will never see because they will walk out in frustration or disbelief (and, believe me, you DO NOT want to miss this idiotic climax).  Walking out halfway through means you will miss all of Perfume’s tremendous heinousness. 

Director/co-writer Tom Tykwer tries to start off with a light hearted tone, but it’s a strange way to tell the story of an orphan abandoned by his mother, forced to live worse than Oliver Twist in the orphanage, trapped into working like a slave in the tannery and, finally, turned into a serial killer, while learning how to make sweet smells.  When Tykwer, along with his co-writers Andrew Birkin and Bernd Eichinger (based on the novel by Patrick Suskind), change the tone to match the sinister events unfolding on the screen, you might think the movie would get better.  However, the twists are so unbelievable they are only topped by the incredulity the audience feels as it happens.  The resolution and the climax are two of those rare moments in a movie when the audience is forced throw up their hands and say, “what the @%^&*$,” as the movie suddenly becomes a porno. 

Along the way, the movie wastes performances by Alan Rickman, Dustin Hoffman, and the stunningly beautiful Rachel Hurd-Wood, to serve a story that is nonsensical.  Perfume:The Story of a Murderer is one of those movies where everyone involved with it, and those who love it, are too enamored with the material and themselves.                    

-1 Waffle (Out Of 4)

Perfume: The Story of a Murderer is rated R for aberrant behavior involving nudity, violence, sexuality, and disturbing images

Copyright 2007 - WaffleMovies.com

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