out of Five
Running time: 90
Perfect Sense has an intriguing premise but fails to do anything interesting with it and ultimately struggles to engage on an emotional level, thanks to flatly written characters and some painfully pretentious direction.
What's it all about?
Directed by David MacKenzie, Perfect Sense is set in Glasgow and stars Eva Green as Susan, an epidemiologist who's baffled when there's an outbreak of patients suffering from a powerful outpouring of grief, followed by a loss of the sense of smell. The epidemic quickly spreads throughout the world and is followed by similar attacks of emotion, then the loss of another sense (terror, hunger, the loss of taste; anger, hatred, the loss of hearing and so on).
In the midst of this unfolding apocalypse, Susan begins a relationship with neighbouring chef Michael (Ewan McGregor) and the two try and cling together as the world falls apart around them.
As two of cinema's most frequently naked actors, it was perhaps inevitable that Ewan McGregor and Eva Green would play lovers at some point and they duly oblige with some fairly decent sex scenes, if you like that sort of thing. However, their characters are so flatly written that it's impossible to care about either the romance or whether they succumb to the virus.
Similarly, the film completely wastes a decent supporting cast - including Connie Nielsen, Ewan Bremner, Denis Lawson and Stephen Dillane – by giving them nothing to do.
The film's premise is intriguing and there are a couple of nice ideas (such as people experimenting with eating strange things like soap and shaving foam after everyone loses their sense of taste), but the plot has no direction (nobody seems all that bothered about trying to find a cure, for example) and the script fails to explore its central idea in any meaningful or interesting way.
On top of that, the direction becomes increasingly pretentious, heightened by an irritating voiceover (by an unseen narrator), tedious dialogue and an overblown score, while the montages of infected people around the world become increasingly ridiculous and unintentionally laughable, particularly during the ‘hunger’ and ‘crying’ sequences.
Essentially, Perfect Sense is very similar to 2008's Blindness, only stripped of any sense of terror or creepiness and without any sympathetic characters. Disappointing.