Perfume: The Story of a Murderer

Rated NR

A movie about odors is hard to pull off, but Tom Tykwer does a workmanlike job of adapting Patrick Süskind’s internationally best-selling novel. The story centers around Grenouille (Ben Whishaw), an orphan in 18th-century France with an uncanny ability to discern scents. Becoming first a tanner, then a perfumer, then a mass-murderer, he goes on a quest to create the perfect perfume. Sadly, it can only be made by killing pretty girls, of which, at least based on this film, 18th-century France had an abundance. The soundtrack is intrusive; the voiceover narration is manipulative; the acting is a bit broad, but the visuals are stunning. Not a complete failure, but not Tykwer’s best.

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