Tom Tykwer's adaptation of Patrick Susskind's 1985 philosophical bogey tale is lavish but lifeless, a grim fairy tale without a hint of dark magic.
Paris, 1766. Murderer Jean-Baptiste Grenouille (Ben Whishaw) is led from his cell to face an angry mob, who howl with smug glee as his gruesome death sentence is read aloud. The film-length flashback that follows begins with a tracking shot into Grenouille's nostril, signaling that this is a story about scent; stenches, perfumes, body odor, the sweet fragrance of flowers and more. The impossibility of evoking aroma in an audiovisual medium fueled the novel's reputation as unfilmable, and unfortunately, it's a proble...