What is left when you’ve lost all your senses?
There was darkness. There is light. There are men and women. There’s food. There are restaurants. Disease. There’s work. Traffic. The days as we know them, the world as we imagine the world.”
It’s an ordinary day in Glasgow. Or so it seems. But the everyday life is interrupted by a new, and strange phenomenon. People all over the world are suddenly overcome with emotions of despair, followed by a loss of their sense of smell. At first there are only a few cases, but after a while it gets epidemic. And this is only the beginning.
How people respond
Perfect Sense is a science fiction movie of the kind that I like: with more emphasis on the fiction, than on the science. The “science” doesn’t even pretend to be believable. No explanation is given to why mankind suddenly literally starts to lose all their senses, one after one, due to this mysterious condition. Is it infectious? Is it a mutation, something “from space” or a random idea by an unknown deity? This is never discussed. All you can do is to suspend your disbelief and accept that this happens. What’s more interesting is to see how people respond to it.
We see some of the measures society takes against the emerging disaster, but it’s not the main focus of the movie. It gravitates towards the perspective of the individuals, in this case a couple – a chef and an epidemiologist – who fall helplessly in love in the middle of the accelerating chaos.
The apparently low budget makes the production look a little bit cheap, sometimes reminding of TV more than a movie intended for theatres. But this didn’t bother me much at all. More than an action movie or a roller coaster ride, this is a beautiful love poem. And you don’t need either SFX or CGI to cut a connection to your heart.
Doesn’t it get depressing to see people becoming more and more handicapped, cut off from each other and from the world? Actually it doesn’t.
How weird as it may sound, it’s uplifting to see how innovative people become to find ways to get by without their senses. When they lose their smell, the compensate making the food sweeter and hotter. When the taste is gone, suddenly they start to experience the sound and texture of food in a new way. And always in the centre are the lovers, getting closer and closer with each other at the same rate as their senses disappear.
I hope that IMDb hasn’t kept good track of how well this movie has made it at the box office because it appears to be a disaster: 1 567 dollars in US (opening on one screen) and 21 675 pounds in UK. Even if your budget was low, it sounds like a loss, especially if you hire stars like Ewan McGregor and Eva Green.
As one single blogger I don’t think I can make a huge difference to those numbers, but if I can inspire just a few more people to see it, I’m happy. I think it deserves it.
Perfect Sense (David Mackenzie, UK 2011) My rating: 4/5