An epidemic movie with a major difference, Perfect Sense focuses on a young chef (Ewan McGregor) and an epidemioligist (Eva Green) who find each other in the midst of a very strange global crisis. People experience crushing feelings of grief and loss and then are fine again, with the one major difference being that they’ve lost their sense of smell. Oh well, it has its advantages and while people are worried they also think it may just come back at some point. Then people are attacked by major hunger pangs before losing their sense of taste. This, of course, causes problems for the chef and the restaurant he works in but it’s overcome by simply changing the eating experience to one of temperatures, sounds and textures rather than taste. Throwing loads of excess spice in there also helps. Again, people are worried but hoping all will right itself soon. But what if the other sense start to disappear? Just how many times can society keep overcoming such strange difficulties?
While the premise may sound a bit silly it’s all executed well enough to make it believable, a mystery that deepens and becomes more frightening with each successive development.
The pacing of the film successfully throws you in amongst the fear and dismay before moments of light relief (McGregor and Green, for example, eating shaving foam and soap while they bathe together after the disappearance of their sense of taste) and keeps things light enough for the first half of the movie until getting darker and darker.
McGregor and Green work well together and their relationship comes together reasonably well enough. I’ve seen people complain about a lack of believability in this core part of the story but, for me, it’s simple to understand how two people can change so drastically while such drastic changes are occurring around them.
While there is great support from the likes of Ewen Bremner, Denis Lawson, Stephen Dillane, etc, the real supporting cast includes the whole human race as shots from various cultures all around the world show differing societies reacting in completely the same way to such life-changing occurences. With narration for these moments, the movie becomes poetic and uplifting even as the imagery shows a selection of horrid moments.
Perfect Sense is far from a perfect film. Because of the way it shows society dealing with things and moving forward for the first half of the film it lacks a power and punch that, thankfully, the second half of the film manages to gain.
McGregor and Green make for a good pairing but there moments of unhappiness tend to be their own fault, which is another failing in the film. These negatives are easily forgotten, however, during a bravura, emotional last half hour that hits home the mounting losses and fills every frame with heightened emotion.
The script by Kim Fupz Aakeson is okay but the movie is really powered by a couple of great performance moments and the solid direction from David Mackenzie.
It’s worth seeing but it’s certainly not unmissable.
DIRECTOR: DAVID MACKENZIE
STARS: EWAN MCGREGOR, EVA GREEN, EWEN BREMNER, DENIS LAWSON, STEPHEN DILLANE
RUNTIME: 90 MINS APPROX