Perfume: The Story Of A Murderer – DVD Review

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Dreamworks Home Entertainment presents Perfume: The Story Of A Murderer. Written by Andrew Birkin & Bernd Eichinger & Tom Tykwer. Based on the novel by Patrick Suskind. 147 minutes. Rated R for aberrant behavior involving nudity, violence, sexuality, and disturbing images.

Directed By:

Tom Tykwer


Ben Whishaw ………. Jean-Baptiste Grenouille
Dustin Hoffman ………. Giuseppe Baldini
Alan Rickman ………. Richis
Rachel Hurd-Wood ………. Laura

The Film:

As Perfume: The Story Of A Murderer opens we see a young man in a dungeon like cell. This is Jean-Baptiste Grenouille (Whishaw). He is then drug out before a rabid mob and convicted of murder and sentenced to crucifixion. Then the camera dramatically shoots up his nostril and we flash back to where Jean-Baptiste was born and thus begins his gruesome tale.

Born with super Spidey-sense like smelling, Jean-Baptiste became obsessed with all smells. One night the scent of a woman caught his attention and this led to her murder. Obsessed with wanting to know how to capture smells he turned to Perfumer Giuseppe (Hoffman) to learn his ways. Being a master of smell Jean-Baptiste instantly masters Perfuming. Alas, this is not enough for Jean and thus begins his psychotic killing spree in an attempt to create the perfect scent using beautiful women.

It can’t be said that this is a bad film. Tykwer most definitely has an eye for cinema and Perfume is a beautiful film, even during the dirty and disturbing scenes. Due to the narration of the story it feels like a fable, like some twisted Brother’s Grimm tale. The acting is wonderful on everyone’s part; the scenes with Dustin Hoffman are a particular joy to watch.

However, there is something off about this film that Stanley Kubrick is said to have deemed “unfilmable.” When Jean kills his first woman he strips her cloths off right there on the street and feverishly smells her body. This scene is very unsettling and not for the faint of heart. In fact, much of this film is unsettling. Our main character is not a likeable one. He’s psychotic and seems to have no moral objection to the lives he’s taking what so ever. The only character one can find to root for is Richis (Rickman) who is vehemently trying to protect his daughter from the madman.

Perhaps the bothersome moments of the film could be forgiven if not for the ending, which is completely outlandish. Most will shake their heads wondering why they just sat through over two hours just to get here. The other problem is that smell is a hard thing to capture on film, a medium connected mostly with the odor of popcorn. Tyker does a fairly good job visualizing the ideas of smell, however it just doesn’t quite come together.

Jean-Baptiste: perfumer, psychotic.

The DVD:

The Video:

The film is presented in anamorphic widescreen 1.78:1. The cinematography in this film is quite stunning and probably the best part. The transfer is fantastic and all the rich colors shine.

The Audio:

The film is presented in Dolby Digital 5.1. The sound is good. Being a film of smell there really isn’t much going on with the sound. But the quality is top notch.


The Story Of Perfume: This is a well put together making of that is more than just another run of the mill puff piece. It gives more insight into the production and might shed some light on those looking for answers.

The DVD Lounge’s Ratings for Perfume: The Story of a Murderer
(OUT OF 10)






The Inside Pulse
This is an odd perplexing film that will displease more than it pleases. If you’re in the mood for something a little different that’s at least technically sound, than by all means rent it.