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Movie Reviews

DVD Review: “Perfume: The Story of a Murderer”

(DreamWorks Home Entertainment. 2006. 1 Disc. Color. Widescreen. 147 minutes. Rated R. Directed by Tom Tykwer.) Ben Whishaw, Alan Rickman, Rachel Hurd-Wood, Dustin Hoffman. Music by Tom Tykwer, Johnny Klimek, Reinhold Heil.

Based on the 1985 novel by Patrick Súskind which is the most popular postwar novel published in Germany. With over 15 million copies sold, the book has worldwide fans, many of whom thought it unfilmable. After 20 years, German director Tykwer (Run Lola Run) succeeds in finally bringing the story to the screen, and it’s a fascinating, strange, compelling movie which didn’t last long in American theaters but is worthy of a look on video. It’s the story of Grenouille (Whishaw, a young Shakespearean actor making his film debut), a young orphan who expresses no emotion or compassion, but who possesses an incomparably keen sense of smell. Through an apprenticeship with a perfumer (Hoffman), he embarks on his life’s work: to distill the essence of humans in order to create the perfect scent. One human he focuses on is the beautiful Laura (Hurd-Wood), watched over by her protective father (Rickman). A movie all about smells? Believe me, it works. An equally compelling score by Tykwer, Klimek, and Heil, performed by the Berlin Philharmonic, featured on this week’s show.