Perfect Sense (UK - DVD R2)
Marcus tries to make sense of a movie about losing our senses. How ironic.
A strange occurrence sweeps the globe that one by one takes away human senses. Starting with the sense of smell, the human race have to adapt and with no idea of what might be taken away next, life on Earth begins to change. Chef, Michael (Ewan McGregor) and doctor, Susan (Eva Green) meet and fall in love and experience their deteriorating senses together but how long can their relationship function when the world is falling apart around them.
Perfect Sense has a lot going for it. For starters there are a few feel good collaborations. Ewan and his Uncle Denis Lawson finally get to do a movie together (Obi Wan and Wedge unite!) Ewan and Ewen Bremner are back together (Renton and Spud reunited) and of course Ewan’s got his penis out again (it’s like the 90s just came back). This somehow gives the film a sense of familiarity straight away and with Ewan playing his usual likable self in a role that doesn't really push him anywhere all that new, the story is easy to slip into. Eva Green is a little bit more of a struggle. I can’t seem to warm to this actress. Her dialogue delivery always feels a little weirdly off beat and every time she tacks “sailor” on the end of a sentence (a trait her character picked up from her father) it sounds wrong somehow (as well as annoying). Also the point of her character being an expert in the field of potential contagion is totally unexplored and ultimately pointless. The unevenness of a likeable character with a character who bugs me, sort of holds back my belief in the pair's growing relationship but it's nothing strong enough to stop the intrigue about what's going on with this whole loss of senses thing.
The movie structure relies largely on description. There are some good performances of course but with every loss comes a mini montage of areas around the world with a soft spoken female voice (Kathryn Engels) telling us what’s happening and an almost poetic take on how we humans adapt to our changing world. Perfect Sense actually turns out to be a fairly level headed study of how society just carries on. How the remaining senses are celebrated in day to day life and how this doesn’t necessarily have to be a negative thing for the world. This isn't the collapse of society, this is appreciation of what we have left and almost a celebration of things we take for granted. Like how music makes you feel, sharing someone else’s company or eating soap because of the texture. (okay that last one is kinda lame). Of course its not all good times. When people start going deaf the world loses its shit but even then this isn’t a post apocalyptic nightmare.
Perfect Sense is almost an alternative look at the end of the world as we know it but not the end of the world as a whole. Of course it's not just that, it's mainly another heightened look at the stages of a relationship with an epic backdrop and in both counts it works. I wouldn't say it worked wonders for me personally but something about Perfect Sense resonated somehow and I sort of dug that about it.
This is a clean image with a lot of darker colours. Greens, greys and occasional browns all give the film an almost wine bottle colourisation to it at times and it makes for quite a pretty appearance. Shot digitally, it has a crisp look and a fair bit of detail. Lighting ranges between realistic visuals to slighty more stylised blues and greens and the more intimate moments are usually bathed in warmer yellows.
There are a few montages with mixed photography. Camcorder recording, digital still photography and these obviously look reduced, quality wise as do one or two darker scenes which begin to look a big fuzzy from time to time but beyond those this is a solid transfer.
Early on it's the full sounding moments in Michael's kitchen that sets the track off. Busy movements, clinking plates, staff shuffling about, the scene is alive and the mix uses every speaker to sell it. The rich emotive score, which is piano based with heartbreaking strings is also perfectly balanced in the mix and very much the key to the heart of this movie.
Growing sounds can build and build to high levels to overwhelm the senses, so to speak. It's maybe not as effective as it could have been, given the subject matter but there's certainly an attempt to make it 'a thing'. Of course it's very effective when characters go deaf and the sound disappears, with only the use of a slight bass element to capture a perfect mood but really other elements feel as if they could have been taken advantage of.
On a down note, the track is not all that balanced overall. Dialogue can be noticeably low in tender moments between lovers, which is fine in the moment but when we cut to a narrated segment that hops up in volume with the score erupting to raise the emotions again, it can feel a little harsh from time to time.
The disc opens with a trailer for Womb, which stars Eva Green and Doctor Who himself Matt Smith.
'Ewan McGregor at the Eiff' (or Edinburgh Film Festival) (03:26) is a brief chat before the screening. Talking about the kitchen scenes, whether the film is a pessimistic or hopeful view and of course working with his uncle.
'Making Perfect Sense' (17:00) is a low key look at the film, speaking only to supporting cast members about the Danish script and David Mackenzie as a director.
Perfect Sense feels a little bit too much like a TV drama at times. Its reach is far beyond TV but its execution can sometimes feel small screen rather than big screen, which in a way does the story more credit. Disc wise, the A/V departments are solid, the extras short but sweet so all in all, while the film itself won't cause much of a stir, there's plenty to like about it. Well worth a watch.
Review by Marcus Doidge
Suitable only for persons of 15 years and over
Release Date: 30th January 2012
Disc Type: Single side, dual layer
Audio: Dolby Digital 5.1 English, Audio Description English
Extras: Making of, Interview with Ewan McGregor
Easter Egg: No
Director: David Mackenzie
Cast: Eva Green, Ewan McGregor
Genre: Drama, Romance and Sci-Fi
Length: 88 minutes
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