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That was an effort: to start into the movie without too many prejudices, without too much sure knowledge that a co-work between anybody and Eichinger can only result in something that is more Eichinger than anybody. It is actually a bit of a waste to use a talented director such as Tykwer just to hide him behind Eichinger’s creative ambitions. The fate of "Memoirs of a Geisha" looming around the corner, the fate of "Harry Potter" – films that try to match the book, but only manage to film some bits of it and never go beyond (see comments below, no need to repeat). The image of Perfume I had in mind was already very clear, I guess partly because Suskind is a writer who cannot but write "audiovisually" – once scriptwriter, always scriptwriter, I guess. The dirt and stench of Paris, the smells and colours of Grasse, the hair of the virgins, the method of stealing their odour – the images are already in the book, and whoever films it needs to stick very closely, because deviation would be fatal.

So Tykwer never deviates. There are a few moments where he uses some interesting imagery or sound-image combination (my favourite scene is Grenouille’s awakening right after he is born, also the scene near the end where he follows his final victim by nose while standing atop a hill, filmed in stroboscobic images), but there are not really very many interesting additions to the text. But given the starting point, I have to say that I was suprisingly entertained. I actually savoured the pictures following the words closely and well-made, while whenever an additional element was introduced, I felt rather annoyed. That said, I am not sure whether the "12 bases" of a perfume have really been in the book – they look like a simplistic construction to give some structure to the murders, and to make the 13th ingredient one more special (or rather: differently) special from what it is.

Grenouille himself is maybe a bit too pretty and not sufficiently deformed, but still he’s good. Dustin Hoffman and Alan Rickman do their best not to overact. All the red-haired girls are gorgeous and give excellent excuses for displaying 18th century dress codes with breasts pouring out like delicious vanilla pudding. Maybe these dresses are the real reason why somebody had to make a film out of it ;-).

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