Part love story, part science fiction, director David Mackenzie’s Perfect Sense is a tale of love, loss and fear. As people around the world are experiencing the loss of sensory perception, a pair of lovers appreciates each other as best they can, as the world erodes around them.

Michael (Ewan McGregor) is a run-of-the-mill playboy bachelor who happens to be a talented chef. One day he bums a smoke off epidemiologist Susan (Eva Green), whose apartment is located across the street from the back door of his restaurant. Shortly before this exchange, the public has been made aware of a strange and sudden outbreak across Europe: people have lost their sense of smell. SOS, it’s called, for Severe Olfactory Syndrome. Those infected are hit with a powerful wave of sadness, perhaps grief for the loss of a loved one, a strong memory. Once the grief passes, their sense of smell is gone.

Next comes the loss of hearing, then sight. The physical senses are fundamental to Michael’s work, but they’ve also been crucial to the way he relates to women. On their first date, when both Michael and Susan find themselves without a sense of smell, David Mackenzie wisely links smell to nostalgia and nostalgia with loss—something that both Michael and Susan are all too familiar. By removing any neurological barriers, pure emotion is brought to the forefront. There’s nothing left to hide. All of this illustrates how our perceptions shape our experiences.

Perfect SenseWhile the relationship between Michael and Susan develops quickly and the chemistry between them is palpable, other aspects of the story are much less believable. Susan is a scientist specializing in epidemics, yet she never deals head-on with the escalating crisis. Instead, she drones on about how awful the men in her life have been. Even now, having found someone she truly enjoys spending time with, she can’t switch gears in the face of such a major catastrophe.  Given the fact that Susan is supposed to be such a smart woman, it’s impossible to believe that she would do nothing to stop the spread and/or progression of the disease.

While Ewan McGregor and Eva Green turn in fine performances here, what can be described as their character’s incessant whining makes it difficult to stay engaged with the story. What could have been a provocative and moralistic analysis of the world on the edge of extinction, becomes a well-meaning but ultimately forgettable piece of science fiction.

Presented in 2.35:1 widescreen, IFC’s 1080p transfer is an impressive one. Colors are bold and striking, while contrast remains even throughout. Grain levels are reasonable, giving the proceedings a filmic look. Flesh tones look natural throughout. Edge enhancement and other digital anomalies are nowhere to be found.

Perfect Sense is presented in DTS-HD MA 5.1 lossless surround sound, which fits the film perfectly. Dialogue is paramount here, and it remains squarely in the front channels. Remaining sounds, placed in the remaining speakers come through without difficulty. Well done track.

English SDH, and Spanish subtitles are available.

The special features are limited to the following:

  • Featurette (1080p, 1:47): Totally forgettable, this piece features snippets of interviews with cast and crew.
  • Trailer (1080p, 2:16)