I can't for the life of me recall who told me this, but during this festival someone mentioned that Roger once described the critic's job as getting people into the theater to see worthy movies even if he doesn't personally care for them. Certainly Roger himself has always demonstrated a critical generosity that many others fail to achieve, either due to ego or a love of a good pun. It's easy to write some good lines at the expense of someone else's three years of hard of work and maxed-out credit cards. God knows I've had my way with a few really wretched films (Are We There Yet, anyone?).
But given that Roger chose to include Perfume, which I had to physically restrain myself from walking out on last fall, I'm pretty much stymied. Typically as film editor of the online weekly Flavorpill, I only list movies that I recommend in some way. So suffice it to say I am ill-equipped to discuss this 2.5-hour epic about an 18th-century perfumer who moonlights as a serial killer of really, really fragrant women.
Before I slide deeper into snark, herein lie two positive comments about this film:
1. It completely commits to its oddball premise — in particular during a wildly extended shot of myriad naked bodies writhing in scent-driven ecstasy — no matter how unlikely it was. A movie about perfume? Even Kubrick declared it uncinematic.
Yes, moving on.
2. I admire Alan Rickman, who portrays a victim's powerful father.
And thus concludes my book report-like "review" (playing second fiddle only to my now-legendary third grade essay What I Did My Summer Vacation).
Afterward Alan Rickman, festival director Nate Kohn and Movie City News' Dave Poland bemoaned how most critics' failure to recognize the film's complicated brilliance derailed its box-office success. I kept conspicuously silent as did, I noticed, other critics in attendance.