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?