"Indie worldwide-disease outbreak films" seem to be all the rage these days. What with "Contagion" and Blindness" having been released in the last few years, it seems to have become a genre in itself. Perhaps a reflection of the times, the "end of the world" is having a resurgence of interest, and I’ll be so bold as to say that David MacKenzie’s "Perfect Sense" is the only one that truly succeeds. How it does this is due in part to an intimate script by Kim Fupz Aakeson that focuses on two lonely people who fall in love just as the world is being torn apart. Rather than show us all the government machinations of how the world deals with the fast-acting disease, we see it from a young couple’s perspective - and this makes it all the more harrowing and touching.
Ewan McGregor plays Michael, a chef who lost a girlfriend to disease years before. Eva Green plays Susan, a scientist in Glasglow who lives behind Michael’s restaurant. Susan has been burned by men and - as a result - resigned herself to the fact that she’ll never find love.
But when reports of a mysterious ailment surface in different cities around the world, things begin to change. People being crying uncontrollably with sadness; sadness at the loss of people they loved; of lovers they never knew; of regrets they have. But once the sadness subsides, they shockingly discover the result of their momentary sadness has taken away their sense of smell. Eventually, similar events occur that begin to wipe out the other senses as well. And each time a sense is taken away, weeks pass and the world perseveres.
Meanwhile, Susan and Michael meet and slowly develop a close relationship - perhaps because of the chaos around them, or in spite of it. What is clear, however, is that the loss of senses causes others to become more prominent. People must use their eyes and ears to make up for loss of smell. They use touch when they are unable to taste. Even when the loss of hearing occurs, the human race finds a way to move on and find ways to communicate and appreciate each other. The question is: when does it stop? As the senses disappear, what becomes of a human being that has no ability to taste, smell, hear, see, or perhaps even... feel?
These are the questions that run through your mind as you watch "Perfect Sense." McGregor and Green perfectly capture two lost souls who find each other amidst a frightening time. They slowly realize that as their senses are taken away, perhaps the only sense they need is love. And maybe love is the perfect sense because it goes beyond touch; it goes beyond smell and taste. It goes further than sight or sound. Because it truly is unexplainable perhaps that makes it the only sense that matters.
At one point in the film, there is a voice-over that perfectly captures how the human race perseveres. They notice the "shining moments. A profound appreciation of what it means to be alive. But most of all, a shared urge to reach out to one another. To offer warmth. Understanding. Acceptance. Forgiveness. Love."
As traumatic as the story of "Perfect Sense" is, it is one of the most moving films of the year and one of my favorites of 2012.
Special features are very slim with the Theatrical Trailer and a featurette that is actually shorter than the trailer! But the film alone is worth the price.