Studio: IFC Films
Cast: Ewan McGregor, Eva Green, Ewen Bremner, Stephen Dillane, Denis Lawson, Connie Nielsen
Director: David Mackenzie
Release Date: June 28, 2012, 8:26 am
Rating: R for (language and some sexuality/nudity)
Run Time: 01h:32m:26s
“There’s nothing to say it’s a virus. There’s nothing that matches anything we know.” - Susan (Eva Green)
Movie Grade: A-
DVD Grade: B
Given that we are, indeed, currently experiencing the year 2012, which the Mayans infamously predicted would be our last year of existence, it’s no surprise that we’ve recently seen countless films depicting catastrophic events (zombie attacks, plagues, etc.) threatening to cause such an end to humanity. One of the most recent, David Mackenzie’s Perfect Sense, reunites the director with Ewan McGregor, the star of his underrated film, Young Adam, putting his character in a society where something is causing people to lose their five senses, one-by- one. This is a stellar, heart-wrenching love story that was sadly ignored by audiences during its limited theatrical run, but, thanks to IFC Films’ new Blu-ray release, we might all learn a thing or two before something similar occurs.
Michael (McGregor) is a chef at a prominent restaurant who can’t hold a steady girlfriend, and, given his tendency to never let a lover sleep in his bed, has an extremely hard time with commitment. Susan (Eva Green) is an epidemiologist that rarely has time for love, despite recently ending a relationship with coworker, Stephen (Stephen Dillane). She is also currently investigating what seems to be an outbreak of an epidemic that is afflicting people with a period of incredible grief that is instantly followed by the permanent loss of their sense of smell. Susan randomly meets Michael one day, as his restaurant is located right below her flat, but it isn’t long after this initial meeting that both of them are also hit by this epidemic. As the global situation worsens, so do Susan and Michael’s conditions, but it remains possible that they will fall in love with each other, despite the gradual disappearance of their senses.
It’s very possible that viewers might shudder as soon as they hear Eva Green’s opening voiceover narration, if only because such a thing, regardless of who the narrator is, usually spells doom for a film. Rest assured, however, that her work as narrator here is integral to the success of Perfect Sense, a notion that is clear from the very beginning. The narration blends beautifully with the visuals during the opening sequence, creating a documentary feel to the proceedings and setting Mackenzie’s bleak, yet optimistic tone perfectly. The narration maintains his tone throughout, adding some sense of control to a chaotic landscape that, has even us, the viewers, emotionally distraught. Also prevalent during the narrated sequences is the simply amazing score by Max Richter (Waltz With Bashir, Womb); a consistently haunting, versatile piece that will likely stand amongst 2012’s best when all is said and done.
Overall, and given the rather bleak state of our society today, Perfect Sense is rather depressing stuff. Shot using long, drawn out, reflective, and dialogue-heavy sequences, we’re often left with our own thoughts, wondering how we would react if this situation was, indeed, real. Helping us along this dark and dreary path are two unforgettable performances by the leads, McGregor and Green, both of whom have never been better. Both actors are on a heck of a hot streak as well, with Green appearing in edgy, interesting fare like Womb and McGregor wowing us in The Ghost Writer, Beginners, and Haywire. Perfect Sense is far from a…well, perfect film, but the chemistry between McGregor and Green, along with an overall compelling story, make it a good excuse to put the zombie movies away for a bit and enjoy a bit of a more realistic take on what our future may hold, or not hold, if such a tragedy were to ever actually happen.
Despite the relative ambiguity of Perfect Sense amongst most moviegoers, IFC has done a pretty good job with their Blu-ray release. The 1080p AVC-encoded transfer appears to be extremely faithful to the HD video nature of the source material, despite a few struggles with noise during some darker sequences. The DTS-HD 5.1 Master Audio is extremely impressive, though, bringing Max Richter’s aforementioned, stellar score to life by allowing it to completely envelope us via aggressive use of the surrounds. The film occasionally calls for sudden bursts of loud sounds, and these are also handled flawlessly. Unfortunately, the only extras are a featurette that’s under two minutes and offers only a handful of clips from interviews with the cast and crew, and the original trailer for Perfect Sense.
Chuck Aliaga June 28, 2012, 8:26 am