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UK | Sweden | Denmark | Ireland 2011
Directed by
David Mackenzie
92 minutes
Rated MA

Reviewed by
Bernard Hemingway
4 stars

Perfect Sense

Every now and then a film comes along that leaves you glued you to your chair after the end credits roll. Perfect Sense certainly did that to me. It’s not a big film but it is a brave one. Kim Fupz Aakeson's exceptional screenplay rides on a challenging concept for any film-maker and British director David Mackenzie does a fine job of bringing home its full emotional and intellectual implications.

Two Glasgow loners, chef, Michael (Ewan McGregor), and epidemiologist, Susan (Eva Green) meet and fall in love just as the world is being affected by a virus that sends people into violent mood swings then progressively robs them of their senses. Starting off much as any new couple basking in their new-found intimacy, as the virus affects them, first taking their sense of smell, then taste, they are at first brought closer by the situation but as the challenges deepen it also threatened to destroy their fledgling relationship.

Although we do get cutaways of the global scale of the pandemic it is precisely the fact that its devastating progress is realized in the context of a single everyday relationship that helps to make the film so effective as we see both the large and small scale dimensions of the scenario manifested in tandem, the large being made  evident in the small. Whilst I found Eva Green as the girl-next-door a little too bootylicious, even more so in her lab gear, there is no problem with her acting and Ewan McGregor is well-suited to his laddish character (as he was in Mackenzie’s impressive Young Adam, 2003). The net result is that we never lose our commitment to the unfolding drama which manages to be quite thrilling as so much, indeed love itself, is at stake. Mackenzie and his team also deserve full credit for realizing Aakeson's novel concept with economy and simplicity thanks to an effective production design well-rendered by Giles Nuttgens' suitably low-fi cinematography (Zentropa Studios was one of the producers)

FYI: For another high quality, bigger budget take on the “plague” movie that also came out in 2011, check out Steven Soderbergh’s Contagion.

DVD Extras: Promotional featurette: A Modern Love Story. Interviews with David Mackenzie. Eva Green, Ewen Bremner: Location footage; Theatrical trailer

Available from: Madman

 

 

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