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  Perfect Sense Are We Getting Through?
Year: 2011
Director: David Mackenzie
Stars: Eva Green, Ewan McGregor, Ewen Bremner, Connie Nielsen, Stephen Dillane, Alastair Mackenzie, Denis Lawson, Liz Strange, Richard Mack, James Watson, Caroline Paterson, Anamaria Marinca
Genre: Science Fiction, RomanceBuy from Amazon
Rating:  4 (from 1 vote)
Review: Two people, in the same city, not so far apart from each other but they've never met. There is chef Michael (Ewan McGregor) who works in the nearby restaurant, then there is scientist Susan (Eva Green) who is investigating a strange new condition which may be beginning to reach an epidemic level, and that will bring them together whether they know it or not, but then, it will bring the whole world together even if it's just as sufferers. This is how it begins: with an overwhelming feeling of melancholy, followed by the disappearance of the sense of taste...

Michael's a chef, you see, so if everyone's not able to taste anything there's not much point in attending a restaurant, is there? Ah, what a dilemma! And it didn't get any more sensible or any less contrived in this low budget end of the world drama which looked to have been conceived by screenwriter Kim Fupz Aakeson after reading José Saramago's novel Blindness, or perhaps a few viewings of the movie adaptation. As if to say, let's go one further, he opted not to make everyone blind, but to take away their senses one by one over the course of the movie, plus give them rushes of various emotions to boot.

So everyone who caught this disease underwent a few recognisable stages which applied to the whole world, something indicated by brief inserts of people in countries outside Scotland where this was set, along with that old favourite, stock footage of appropriate imagery (including another old reliable, one of the saucers from Earth vs. The Flying Saucers for a spot of ironic sci-fi nodding). Once you had that in mind, this was a very long hour and a half as you watched this version of the planet wind down, going through the expected breakdown of society with accompanying riots, only as this was low budget it looked as if one street was afflicted.

At the heart of this, our only hope for humanity was apparently that Michael and Susan could get along enough to make a connection and have their love be worthwhile, riding the bumps of the crisis to win out against the odds and so forth. Unfortunately they're a miserable, grim-faced couple even before it's clear it's the end of the world as we know it, and hard to engage with so the fact they have to suffer through the epidemic doesn't exactly make this hilarious. Unless your sense of humour - the one sense which seems unaffected by the end, possibly because nobody had one in the first place - stretches to the unintentionally amusing, for certain sequences here raise a giggle or three.

It was nice to see the apocalypse hit Glasgow, not because the city deserved it but because it normally didn't get a look in when the world was going to Hell in a handbasket on the big, or even small, screen, so there was at least the novelty of the scenery to make this stand out, even if it did look as grey and drab as the characters passing through it. Otherwise, aside from that chuckling as the cast acted out, say, an overwhelming hunger craving, you could pass the time wondering when Eva was going to take her clothes off again, and rest assured Ewan fans, he did not disappoint in that department either, but otherwise every emotion on display was as forced and unconvincing as the crisis. Tying this thematically into the state of global communities becoming coarser in their reactions to one another, and they might as well have scored the plot to the plaintive strains of the Black-Eyed Peas trilling "Where is the love?" instead of composer Max Richter's sad face ambient noodlings. As it was, Perfect Sense was one big mope.
Reviewer: Graeme Clark


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David MacKenzie  (1967 - )

British writer-director of gritty subject matter who graduated from short films to features with The Last Great Wilderness. He followed this with an acclaimed adaptation of Alexander Trocchi's cult novel Young Adam, and dark, romantic thriller Asylum. Next were Scottish-set dramas Hallam Foe and the science fictional Perfect Sense, then much-acclaimed prison drama Starred Up and modern Western Hell or High Water. He is the brother of actor Alastair MacKenzie.

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