Saturday, September 16, 2006
So, I've seen "Das Parfum", yesterday. Great pictures, great camera, great costumes, great sets but altogether very disappointing. After a gorgeous, marvellous start( The monsterbaby-sequence is great), I became less and less interested in Grenouille himself, couldn't share his obsession for a second, and how should that be possible, if everything you are supposed to believe and understand is told to you by tons of voice-over-narration. There is nothing left of the demonic Grenouille from the book, ( The baby is a hundred times scarier ), but this guy feels more like a retarded Kaspar Hauser-like idiot, and that embarrasing tear running down his cheek to conveniently redeem him in the end ultimatly kills the character for me. He should be a revolting chap,almost Gollum-like, with a fascinating, paranormal gift and the ultimate wish to be loved by everybody, for his soul, despite of his abnormity ( think : The Elephantman) but this is the big mistake the script makes : Here Grenouille doesn't want to be loved and accepted, his goal is to create and conserve the ultimate smell, in other words : the filmakers replace a quest of the heart for a scientific one of the brain.
Consequently the ending doesn't work: Instead of being loved to death by the crowds - at what should have been his execution-and that would be the only place to do it, the characters darkest hour- he causes a poonah-ashram-megaorgy , but he's not the center of it, but just a spectator... In some parts the movie wishes to play alongside "silence of the lambs", especially the -cooking the ladies-parts, but Grenouille can't hold a candle to good ol' Hannibal Lectar, who truly, in all his villainess , is a fascinating character.
Dustin Hoffman is great ( unimaginable , what he would have done with the role in his prime ) and his sequence is the nicest one to watch, he portrays a sad, pathetic character past his prime, I absolutly can identitfy with, at least he has a goal, he struggling for survival, whereas ,...ah you know what I mean, his comic death is totally out of place and destroys the atmosphere of the movie once and for all- just plain ,, bad directing.. whereas Alan Rickman's character is portrayed as a rationalist, obsessive father, who votes for a systemetical police-operation to capture the monster, badmouthing the supersticious methods of the church, but then he inconsequently leaves his palace and home, threatens to destroy his daughter's life, because of a bad dream. Why ? Because it looks good ! And here's another thing I can't believe : Grasse is a village right ? A village specialized on the perfume-making-trade , right ? They find corpses of young woman, with shaved heads and perfumer's fat on their bodis and inspite of the fact, that everybody in town is dealing with perfumes one way or the other and knows the trade inside out nobody concludes, there could be a perfumer behind it ? Maybe that strange genius that everybody knows and finds awkward,and why for heaven's sake can't they find the murderer anyway , this is not Manhattan, mind you ! And what I didn't get, did he treat the girls on the spot, I mean in church or on the marketsquare, or why is it, that they find their corpses there and their hair and clothes buried in his backyard, or could it be, that, again, it simply looks good to put a naked girl in front of an altar ? My guess is, they wanted that shot, most of the time the movie feels like its makers used the novel to create stunning pictures, rather than believable characters and a compelling story. I think ultimatly it comes down to the old problem, if people (and producers ) want to create an event , something everybody talks about, well most of the times, this is what you get). Anyway, it wasn't exactly an evening wasted, still good entertainment and a feast for the eyes, go check out for yourself, H