Perfect Sense is not a movie for everybody but the chemistry between Ewan McGregor and Eva Green as well as a compelling story makes it at least worth watching at least once. Unlike a movie like Contagion, this deals almost entirely on human emotion and little to nothing about the actual epidemic, its causes and possible cures. Similar to Never Let Me Go which is about cloning, that film as well centers on human relations than the ethics of cloning.
Genre(s): Drama, Romance, Science Fiction
MPI | R – 92 min. – $29.98 | May 22, 2012
Directed by: David Mackenzie
Writer(s): Kim Fupz Aakeson (written by)
Cast: Ewan McGregor, Eva Green, Ewen Bremner, Connie Nielsen
Features: Featurette, Theatrical Trailer
Number of Discs: 1
Audio: English (DTS-HD MA 5.1)
Video: 1080p/Widescreen 2.35
Subtitles: English SDH, Spanish
Disc Size: 22.6 GB
Codec: MPEG-4 AVC
THE MOVIE – 3.75/5
Perfect Sense, the latest from director David Mackenzie (Young Adam, Asylum), has the science fiction element of Never Let Me Go (meaning very little) and worldwide epidemic of Steven Soderbergh’s ensemble drama, Contagion. Comparatively speaking, I don’t think it’s as emotionally charged as Never Let Me Go but makes a better connection with panic and the human element versus Contagion. In its own right, however, this is not a bad film urged on to the two leads.
The plot follows Susan (EVA GREEN), a scientist and workaholic who has neglected her social life, and Michael (EWAN MCGREGOR), a gourmet chef whose own personal life is cold and distant. The back entrance to his restaurant is across the way from the entrance to her apartment, so the pair meets and while she tries to keep her distance, they eventually hook up. Around the same time, there’s a strange epidemic going on. At Susan’s clinic, they receive a patient who prior displayed overly emotional behavior but who has since calmed down… only to have his sense of smell vanishes.
Soon enough, emotional panic attacks begin to happen around the globe striking both Susan and Michael who, like the others, lose their smelling senses. What started out as panic turned into complacency and society works around the ailment. However, as sense of smell goes away, so does taste and again, people try to work around it but when their aural senses are gone, it’s a global panic and breakdown.
All the while, the pair grows closer but is their connection due to the epidemic rather than true love? As I mentioned in my opening, Perfect Sense is akin to the 2010 romantic-drama, Never Let Me Go starring Carey Mulligan, Andrew Garfield and Keira Knightley. Both films are haunting and although each do slap you in the head with its message about the heart, they’re also quite effective. With Perfect Sense, though, it adds a frightening aspect that while taken to the extreme, seems to be within the realm of possibilities. Admittedly some might find the scenes where the loss of sense to be a tad laughable and it can get over-the-top, the chemistry between the two leads seem to subdue any of those concerns.
That’s where the film really excels. Ewan McGregor and Eva Green are so great together and writer Kim Fupz Aakeson establishes their characters well enough that even when they aren’t together, you feel the pain and want them to reunite. As for McGregor, I’m not quite sure what to make of him as an actor. He seems to wander between indie flicks and Hollywood blockbusters but either way, gives fine performances no matter the budget. Similarly, Eva Green continues with a degree of success, albeit keeping a low key since making a smashing appearances in The Dreamers, Kingdom of Heaven and, of course, Casino Royale. Here, she perfectly plays reinvigorated lost soul that plays nicely with McGregor’s character who too has personal issues with love.
Perfect Sense won’t be the film for everyone. As I said, the plot and actions can get over-the-top and unlike the similarly themed Contagion, the film doesn’t delve much, if at all, into the causes of the epidemic and instead focuses on the relationship between Michael and Susan. Yes, the message of all you need is love does slap you on the side of your head more than once but I found it more than effective and an emotional level. Still, I’m unsure as to how much replay value this movie has. It’s not overly downbeat but by the same token, this isn’t the kind of movie one can watch on a random night…
I also must give props to Max Richter’s haunting and melancholy score. The German born composer doesn’t have a mainstream resume outside of maybe Sarah’s Key, but without going overboard, he manages to give the film the right musical tone that amplifies the emotional chord. Not to draw another comparison to Never Let Me Go, but it is similar to the downbeat but effective score by Rachel Portman. I highly recommend purchasing both scores.
Even so, the performances and chemistry between Ewan McGregor and Eva Green makes Perfect Sense worth watching at least once. While the epidemic is highly unlikely, the way writer Aakeson and director Mackenzie present it, it gives the movie a certain base in reality that it at least seems relatively possible.
SPECIAL FEATURES – 0.5/5
Unfortunately the disc doesn’t offer a whole lot in terms of features… After some previews (Albatross, On Death Row, Loosies, The Decoy Bride) we get an utterly short promotional Featurette (1:47) and the Trailer (2:16).
VIDEO – 4.5/5
Perfect Sense in a word looks amazing. The 1080p (AVC encoded), 2.35 widescreen aspect ratio, high-definition transfer is stunning to behold with a fair amount of noise and grain that might put some viewers off but for me, it only adds to the theatrical look. Detail levels whether up close or in the background is excellent and the color array tends to go into the warm range but that’s the director’s prerogative and it doesn’t take anything away from the picture.
AUDIO – 4.0/5
The 5.1 DTS-HD Master Audio track isn’t great but gets the job done. As one would think, a fair amount of the movie is mostly dialogue-driven yet it’s not completely useless as the subject matter of the film deals with senses and when each goes, you can distinguish even the slightest sounds, adding to the eeriness to the scene.
OVERALL – 3.0/5
Overall, Perfect Sense is not a movie for everybody but the chemistry between Ewan McGregor and Eva Green as well as a compelling story makes it at least worth watching at least once. Unlike a movie like Contagion, this deals almost entirely on human emotion and little to nothing about the actual epidemic, its causes and possible cures. Similar to Never Let Me Go which is about cloning, that film as well centers on human relations than the ethics of cloning. With regards to the Blu-ray, the video and audio transfers are great but the disc does fail in the features department with a superficial and extremely short featurette.
Brian Oliver, The Movieman
Check out some more screen caps by going to page 2. Please note, these do contain spoilers.