Wednesday, 5 December 2012
Science fiction doesn’t have to be about special effects and aliens trying to take over the earth and eat us alive; I often argue the better sci-fi comes when subtle changes are made to reality in order to make a certain point more obvious. To one extent or the other, such is the case with Perfect Sense.
Michael (Ewan McGregor) is an asshole. We know that because we are introduced to him as he politely kicks out a naked lady he just had sex with off his bed. He has “every right” to be the way he is: he’s young, he’s good looking, and he’s a successful chef at a successful Scottish restaurant. Why shouldn’t he regard the female population as his personal library service?
Opposite Michael is Susan (Eva Green), a scientist living just off the back of Michael’s restaurant and working on epidemics. Like the current one, which has people losing their mind for a brief session, after which they appear to lose their sense of smell; no one can really tell why this is happening.
Michael and Susan meet when the ever arrogant Michael asks Susan for a cigarette, and then a light, upon taking a work break. Susan complies from her window; shortly afterwards she agrees to go on a date. But can she trust Michael enough to develop a relationship with him when she knows what he’s really like and while everyone seems to be losing their senses, literally?
Perfect Sense is one of those beautifully created films where every shot is a marvel to look at and appreciate its composition. Beauty is further supported by the acting, particularly that of the leads: McGregor has long ago established the fact he can portray any character perfectly, and the beautiful Green knows how to play the closed but good looking woman. Frequent natural nudity adds to the viewer’s acceptance of their characters.
All this careful work is there to promote the message concerning the things that truly matter to us humans as we lose the things we think matter. For example, Perfect Sense suggests that losing one’s sense of taste does not mean that one would not want to go out to a restaurant anymore; it just means one would be able to better recognize that it is the social element of the going out that is the important thing rather than the food itself. The point about the importance of the social nature of human beings, particularly as demonstrated by the love affair at the center of our film here, is well made; however, the relationship between humanity losing its senses and the basic story feels more than a bit forced. It is as if Perfect Sense had a good idea to start with but fails to determine where to take things further. Perhaps this is why Perfect Sense resorts to the occasional bout of narration.
Regardless, Perfect Sense provides a great mix of a human story told in the background of some creatively apocalyptic scenes. It certainly does not lack imagination.
Best scene: Our senseless heroes, separated by trauma, seek one another for that final moment together. Things don’t go their way, though…
Overall: Creative, attractive, yet somewhat broken. I will be very generous and give Perfect Sense 3.5 out of 5 stars; after all, I do have a soft spot for science fiction.