Let’s get the obvious out of the way upfront. This movie is gorgeous. Even when what’s on the screen is dirt and filth (like much of the beginning, set in the poorest areas of a French fishing village), it’s beautifully lit, shot, and framed. The music, too, is a high point, bringing an epic feel to what is actually a fairly repugnant story. I should expect nothing less from Tom Tykwer, whose films are consistently full of beauty and use music very well, from this classic-esque score to the pumping techno of Run Lola Run.
The story involves Jean-Baptiste Grenouille, a child abandoned at birth by his mother but survived the orphanage despite being an outcast for his weird superpowered smell. An encounter with a beautiful redhead led Grenouille to make it his life’s mission to capture and preserve women’s scent, which he finally learns to do through a process that involves…killing them.