Set in Glasgow by Scottish director David Mackenzie, Perfect Sense chronicles the spread of an epidemic that gradually robs humanity of its senses. First smell, then taste, each loss prefigured by outbreaks of searing emotion, until sensual apocalypse seems imminent.
Meanwhile, people soldier on for as long as they can. The human spirit is indomitable, especially when it admits to needing others. Chef Michael (Ewan McGregor), hitherto a bit of a lad, and cool, calm epidemiologist Susan (Eva Green) begin a relationship that is fastforwarded by need, achieving an entirely credible intimacy whilst darkness encroaches.
Nobody is uniquely at fault: genetic mutation, terrorism, chemical overkill – anything could have brought this on. Humans are what they are: flawed.
What remains when all else fails is love, but tempered by the suffering that precedes it. Perfect Sense is not an easy movie and to my mind, not entirely logical either. But that is the point. Here intellect and reason are of limited use. It’s a set of other qualities that matters.
The film works with a very small cast (Dillane’s lonely doctor complementing the central couple in Perfect Sense), leaving plenty of space for relationships to crystallise and coalesce. It makes for satisfying cinema. Despite the darkness – perhaps because of it.
Perfect Sense | Directed by David Mackenzie, with Ewan McGregor, Eva Green, Stephen Dillane (Germany, UK, Sweden, Denmark 2011): Starts December 8