I first read Patrick Suskind’s Perfume way back in the 90s on a recommendation, and was, to be honest, a little freaked out. All that obsession and madness was just a little too much for me. That said, I kept the book and recommended it to a number of people over the years.

I’ve never attempted any kind of analysis of it though (one of the pitfalls of reading something when you’re comparatively young). The film, while not ‘a cracker’ did make me think the elements of the story through a little more closely. This is because while Perfume: Portrait of a Murderer was not an entirely accurate retelling of the novel, it did try to bring through many of the key elements and present them in a linear fashion.

What the film also did was portray elements of the book isolated from their context, and haphazardly. For instance, in the novel people who are cruel or evil to the main character meet untimely an untimely demise, while those who are kind of him will prosper (something I’d like to think happens to people who treat me in well or poorly). But, in the film only the negative things are represented? The film has a number of these annoyances.

All this said, if you’ve not read the book the film might still be intriguing if not only for the costumes and 18th century sets. Don’t try and work out why some most events happen (they’re inadequately explained), and try to enjoy the introduction of many characters who were in fact superfluous.

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