Perfect Sense *****

Director David MacKenzie/ 90 mins

A heartfelt, poetic apocalyptic love story sees the return of David MacKenzie. It also reunites Ewan McGregor and Ewen Bremner fifteen years after starring in Trainspotting together.

Michael (Ewan McGregor) is a head chef at a Glaswegian restaurant who during a cigarette break sparks up a conversation with epidemiologist Susan (Eva Green) who lives in a nearby apartment. They begin to fall for each other in the midst of a global pandemic that sees the human race experience outbursts of grief followed by losing their sense of smell.

The concept has been explored briefly before in Blindness, but screenwriter Kim Fupz Aaekson takes the idea to a whole new level. The notion of losing each of the senses as the virus slowly develops is inspired and original. The film’s overall theme is essentially one of hope and existence. While there is a sense of panic, the film does not explore the outbreak itself, but delves into how the characters deal with loss and their emotions. 

While the film has been mostly shot in Glasgow, there are a few short scenes which show how other countries are coping with the situation. Throughout the duration, a variety of images are shown to the viewer with a voiceover, which gives a little more exposition about the symptoms of the epidemic.

The strength of the piece is the relationship between Michael and Susan, which is believable and moving. If this had not have succeeded the whole concept would not have worked. McGregor and Green have great chemistry and their performances are powerful and touching. The characters played by Ewen Bremner and Denis Lawson provide comic relief but are underused within the narrative.

Technically the film is an absolute triumph, especially with the music and sound in general. Composer Max Richter’s unforgettable haunting score is mesmerising and the use of a muted soundtrack during the sequences that have the characters experiencing the loss of hearing is clever and subtle. The imagery is also beautifully shot by cinematographer Giles Nuttgens, although a few of the handheld shots feel slightly out of place.

The filmmakers have taken a risky bold move by making this feature. It will certainly split audiences whether they will love or hate the movie. But there is no taking away that Perfect Sense is a bold, fresh, ambitious and a visually stunning piece of Scottish cinema.

 

Reviewed by Paul Logan

 

 

 

 

 

 

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