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Perfume - The Story Of A Murderer (Single Disc Edition) [DVD]

Ben Whishaw , Francesc Albiol , Tom Tykwer    Suitable for 15 years and over   DVD
3.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (136 customer reviews)
Price: £6.99 & FREE Delivery in the UK on orders over £10. Details
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Product details

  • Actors: Ben Whishaw, Francesc Albiol, Gonzalo Cunill, Sian Thomas, Sam Douglas
  • Directors: Tom Tykwer
  • Producers: Bernd Eichinger
  • Format: PAL
  • Region: Region 2 (This DVD may not be viewable outside Europe. Read more about DVD formats.)
  • Aspect Ratio: 16:9 - 1.78:1
  • Number of discs: 1
  • Classification: 15
  • Studio: Twentieth Century Fox
  • DVD Release Date: 17 Sep 2007
  • Run Time: 147 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 3.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (136 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B000V6YRO8
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 19,496 in DVD & Blu-ray (See Top 100 in DVD & Blu-ray)



Based on Patrick Suskind's novel about a serial killer who hunts victims with his superhuman sense of smell, Perfume: Story of a Murderer is a florid, grisly portrayal of this historical drama set in 18th century France. Jean-Baptiste Grunuis (Ben Whishaw) is born under his mother's table at the fish market, onto a pile of muddy fish guts, establishing from the beginning his repulsion for putrid scents. A childhood of neglect and, later, a job at a tannery, encourage Jean-Baptiste to develop his olfactory sense rather than his verbal skills, so that an opportunity to prove his worth to Parisian perfumist, Giuseppe Baldini (Dustin Hoffman), results in his immediate hire into a promising new career. His successes in perfume mixing are negated by a blinding obsession for capturing the sublime beauty of human soul, which in his twisted logic requires the killing of young women to reduce their body fats to essential oils for the ultimate, cannibalized eau de parfum. An omniscient narrator tells the story with much sympathy for Jean-Baptiste's perverted psychology, making it, often, too obvious that his need for love justifies his murderous desire to capture misguided sexual attractions in a vile. Continuous close-ups of Grunius's nose, countered by close-ups of the places and objects he smells, enhance the viewer's understanding of his sensitivity. Repeated comparisons are made between the killer and dogs who aid, then expose his sick experimentation. The settings are fascinating, especially Baldini's perfumery and some later scenes in enflorage factories outside Provence. Whishaw's and Hoffman's performances are both grand. But Perfume unnecessarily spells out Jean-Baptiste's psychosis, squelching any chance for metaphor. This is unfortunate, considering the story's paradoxical nature. As this crude hunter navigates his way through a world of utmost delicacy, one craves ambiguity rather than explanation. --Trinie Dalton

Product Description

Tale of murder and intrigue explores the under-reported sense of smell in a tale from the blockbuster novel by Patrick Süsskind. Grenouille is a baby born into squalor. Uniquely, he is born with no scent of his own - causing his own mother and a string of surrogate mothers to shun him. The result of his not having a smell, however, is that he develops the strongest sense of smell imaginable. He becomes apprentice to a famed perfumer (Dustin Hoffman) who hones his craft and makes his fortune from the talented waif. Obsessed with wringing the essence out of anything with a smell, the idea soon occurs to Grenouille that a beautiful, fine smelling woman might make the perfect tea bag for a vat of wonderful perfume. Things take a dark turn for the smell-free youth, however and, in his quietly desperate, compulsive search for new odours, nothing can stand between him and the scents he wishes to acquire.

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
64 of 68 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Perfume of death 21 Feb 2007
How exactly do you make a movie about smells? After all, a movie is all about sight and sound. Touch, taste and smell rarely come into it.

But acclaimed German director Tom Tykwer manages to make us smell things, in his most disturbing movie to date, "Perfume: The Story of a Murderer." This time around, the talented Tykwer abandons his usual lovers-against-the-world stories for a lushly-filmed, darkly comic story of olfactory obsession. Yes, that is what I said.

Jean-Baptiste Grenouillle (Ben Whishaw) is a man with a brilliant sense of smell, and zero body odor. He was born in a putrid fishmarket, raised in an orphanage, and later escapes from a tannery where he was working. He's enraptured by the many thrilling smells in the city -- he even kills a young girl, so that he can smell her lovely scent.

In his search for the perfect scent, Jean-Baptiste gets a job with a once-famed perfume-maker (Dustin Hoffman). But after learning that not everything has a scent, he begins killing women to try to distill their scents into the ultimate perfume -- with beautiful redhead Laura (Rachel Hurd-Wood) as the "thirteenth scent." But his ultimate scent has an even more sinister side, as his scents begin to affect the population in unusual ways.

"Perfume" is Tykwer's most unique movie to date, and the one that definitely identifies him as a cinematic master. There are lots of music that are evocative, sensual, colourfully beautiful, or unspeakably creepy, but not many manage to be all of them. "Perfume: The Story of a Murderer" is all of those, and more.

Obviously a movie doesn't smell like anything, except maybe stale popcorn. So Tykwer uses sight for smell -- rotted fish, maggots, moldy walls from the late 1700s to show Jean-Baptiste's miserable origins.
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent and well worth the wait! 11 May 2007
When I heard that perfume was finally being made in to a movie, I almost fell off my chair! I knew that Suskind had been unwilling to give up the rights for the making of a film so it was with baited breath that I waited to finally see the movie. I was so pleased that it had kept close to the book and that it had been filmed so well against the beautiful scenery of southern France. The quality of the acting is superb especially that of the lead played by Ben Whishaw who plays Jean-Baptiste Grunuis capturing the haunted obsession of a young man who suffers through his tremendous sense of smell and lack of personal odour while he searches for the perfect perfume. Perfume is not a story, which should be read or watched on a passing fancy, it is dark and strange and weaves a fairly simple story in to often-great complexity. If you don't get it, read the book or watch the movie again. It's well worth taking the time with both and ultimately the film is a rare find in that it accurately captures the heart and sole of Suskind's original work.
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12 of 13 people found the following review helpful
Although it always sounds snobbish to say 'I read the book and it's much better', unfortunately that's true here (it wasn't an international best seller for nothing..) In fact, it's somehow hard to pinpoint the reason why the book is better, but I suppose the slightly supernatural element in the book feels like a metaphor (I'm thinking of the fates of Grenouille's employers) where on the screen it feels slightly out of place and makes it hard to view the story as either a metaphorical journey or the plot driven story of a serial killer. The book juggles this juxtaposition better. This also feels true of many of the key moments in the story, and although the inner life of Grenouille's obsession with smell is well captured, some sense of his monstrous nature is missing and I felt urged to sympathise with him too often. The book never engages you to sympathise - just observe. All the same, it's interesting to see this on the screen, and the film has a lot of positive elements, most notably the sense of time and place, and the cast in general. The film sticks closely to the plot but both in terms of the secondary characters in the novel adding depth to the vignettes, and in an understanding of Grenouille himself, the film ultimately feels contracted and a little flat. In fact you would probably just think - decent enough film but I wonder what all the fuss was about?
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Smell BAD!! 31 Jan 2010
Haven't read the book so it's all new to me. The story of an olefactorily gifted murderer is an interesting idea but this drifts off into silliness.

I know it's adapted from a book but the narration is just too much - too much information - the audience aren't allowed to think for themselves, everything is spelled out. The first half hour is particularly bad - I could normally listen to John Hurt talk all day but I ended up yelling `Shut the fudge up' as he told me yet another thing which should have been perfectly obvious from the visuals. A voiceover can be very effective (see `The Assassination Of Jesse James etc..') but this just gets in the way.

Then when the `hero' becomes apprenticed to Dustin Hoffman's perfumier and John Hurt shuts up for a while the film gets quite interesting; this and the first part of his time in Grasse are the best part of the film. Alas he starts murdering girls in order to acquire their scent and it all goes downhill very quickly from there. The scene in the town square when Grenouille is to be executed is, well, two words came to my mind; Monty Python. The final scene, back in the horrible fish market where he came into the world, is quite effective, but for this viewer at least, the damage had already been done.

The performances are variable, to put it mildly. Ben Whishaw is fine, although for the first part of the film he just seems to stand around sniffing with his eyes closed, and for the second part he lurks in shadows a lot. Dustin Hoffman starts off badly (does he have to say `Mamma Mia!' just to prove to us that he is, in fact, Italian?), but his scenes with Whisaw are probably the best in the film.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars PERFUME: The Story Of A Murderer [2006] [Blu-ray]
PERFUME: The Story Of A Murderer [2006] [Blu-ray] ‘Perfume: The Story of a Murderer’ is a German 2006 thriller film directed by Tom Tykwer, written by Andrew Birkin, Bernd... Read more
Published 2 days ago by Andrew C. Miller
5.0 out of 5 stars Esoteric spiritual teaching of the movie
the guy is a Black magician. He has no soul, no empathy no conscience, no smell.
Like all BMs he wants to create his own soul, his own smell which he does by killing 12... Read more
Published 21 days ago by R.Potter
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
Published 1 month ago by mconnor
5.0 out of 5 stars too slow for many people, i fear, but ...
too slow for many people, i fear, but if you can be patient and get in to his mind, obsessive, you can guess the outcome, fascinating how his obsession leads to his demise, and... Read more
Published 1 month ago by Mr. Martin Trewhella
5.0 out of 5 stars great suprise
probably the most surprising film you will ever see, a great story all the more so as its claims to be based on true events and characters? Read more
Published 4 months ago by A. F. Allday
5.0 out of 5 stars Great film!
I had seen this filn nany times, but it is good to own a dvd as well. I can smell beautiful flowers of Grasse, as well as the sadness and scary side of the story.
Published 4 months ago by Anna H
5.0 out of 5 stars good film
Yet another film I believe is worth having in my DVD library. I loved the book and loved the film.
Published 5 months ago by R.G.
5.0 out of 5 stars never trust a boy born into fish guts...!
A really enjoyable film, so different to the usual formula following Hollywood stuff. Enjoyed this immensely from beginning to end.
Published 6 months ago by Mr Andrew Major
4.0 out of 5 stars Here's how you film the un-filmable
A film adaptation based on a book widely considered un-filmable; and the result is one of the most underrated movies I have ever seen. Read more
Published 7 months ago by Gatekeeper197
4.0 out of 5 stars Rather unusual.
This is the most unusual film. I watched it on TV and thought I have to own a copy of this myself.
Its a fascinating and strange story but I enjoyed it.
Published 7 months ago by jennyliz
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