Saturday, January 1, 2011

Book vs Movie: Perfume

To welcome in the new year, I decided to do a little redesign. I like it, and I hope you do, too! How about a special book to movie comparison post.

For New Years Eve, I opted out of accompanying my family to see a comedian downtown and instead watched the movie that I have been holding hostage from Netflix for about a month now. It was "Perfume: The Story of a Murderer." I read the book last summer and wanted to follow up with the movie.

Here is what I had to say after reading the book by Patrick Süskind:
I sort of stumbled into this book. I don't normally read whatever genre you would call this, so I went in with a little trepidation. I like plot driven novels more than character driven, and unfortunately this falls mostly in the latter. There were times when Grenouille was doing something that I was completely engaged, turning pages to see what would happen next. And others, especially during chapters told from people I just met, where I wanted to get back to the point.

It was an interesting novel though, and at some points I was really thrown. I did not expect the ending at all but it was fitting for this story.

The idea of scent as the main focus is intriguing to me. I always found it one of the harder senses to capture in media. But Süskind (or his translator I guess) does a good job of helping me smell what Grenouille did through vivid vocabulary. The evolution from form to perfume also really interested me.

So I give it three stars. It's a good book, just not the kind that I fall in love with.
So a full 6months later, I watch the movie. I didn't remember much too much of the book, but things started to come back as the movie progressed. The movie was very faithful to the book. The directors translated it very well, kept the pace moving and did a great job of capturing scent on film.

Though it was a bit weird to see close-ups of Ben Whishaw's nose. (It is a nice nose, though). He did a remarkably good job of portraying Grenouille. Like I said in the book review, it is a character study and not having a good main character, who is an abnormal human being to begin with, would have just made the movie horrid. Other awesome cast members include Alan Rickman and Dustin Hoffman.

In general, it was an enjoyable movie, though not one with mass appeal. This is more of an artistic movie that has some unique undertones, just like the book. And also just like the book, the ending was strange. I think it was a bit stranger on screen because in the book you had the consistent whimsy of the writing. In the movie, well it could almost pass as normal for most of it, so the ending was extra jarring and wtfery.

1 comment:

  1. Really interesting post - I haven't seen the book or the movie yet but own both. I love the movie poster as well :) x


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