Jean Babtiste Grenouille (Ben Whishaw) is a man with a peculiar knack at being able to detect scents. (CONTAINS SPOILERS).
He goes on a journey to make the perfect scent. Along the way, he tries and fails in many ways, including trying to distill the smell of a cat, killing a young girl selling peaches, and I was originally put off by the premise of the film when it was originally released.
The film brings to life the sights and smells of 18th century Paris, with all the squelches and belches that entails. It makes me want to scrub myself clean just watching the street scenes unfold.
The musical score is haunting. I, for some reason, love those shrieking opera pieces because they suit the mood of the film – desperation, sadness, drama.
The casting is superb. I am a fangirl of Ben Whishaw and there are also the acting talents of Dustin Hoffman, Alan Rickman and the pretty Rachel Hurd Wood to add to the melee. Alan Rickman stole the show in the role of Antoine Richis and he has a powerful screen presence.
However, on some levels the film is disturbing. The premise itself is stomach churning, and there are some scenes which I find off-putting even now.
Watching the fruitless and bloody search for the murderer of the girls is a tense scene as we see people try to stop the killngs while Jean Babtiste still manages to lurk, concocting his perfume.