Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Perfect Sense Premieres at Sundance: Pictures, Reviews & More

*Update: Video of David, Gillian below! Plus the video Ewan McGregor made noting his absence from the premiere and speaking of the film

Last night saw the world premiere of David Mackenzie's "Perfect Sense" held at the Sundance Film Festival. While it's still early, there are a few reviews on line, (twitter has lots of 140 character reviews all positive) and they are very positive and enthusiastic about the film.
(David introduces film w/Gillian behind & is that Sigma's own Brian Coffey there too?---->)

Screen Daily calls it a "great drama" and writes (spoilers) positively about the performances & script, and notes: "The film’s technical aspects are strong. Mackenzie’s regular cinematographer Gilles Nuttgens creates some beautifully blown-out images; hazy, white natural light seems to flow into every frame, creating an otherworldly illumination. The musical score by Max Richter (Waltz With Bashir) is also deeply evocative, heightening the proceedings with plaintive piano-driven compositions.This haunting, taut and moving sci-fi drama about what it means to love and be human has the potential for strong global appeal. While its bleak concept will limit a wider reach in cinemas, it should have a long and healthy life in ancillary markets, both in the US and internationally.

Aint it Cool has an excellent review online (again, spoilers); key points here:

There are so many incredible things going on in this film that it would be a crime to discuss each of them specifically without letting the viewer experience it for themselves. "Perfect Sense," with great shrewdness and restraint, shows us how much we take for granted, the resilience of humans and just how sweeping a sensation it is to truly love somebody. The original score is both despairing and optimistic without ever drawing too much attention to itself and always complimenting the scene that it's accompanying. David Mackenzie's direction is powerful and visceral, diving into the psyche to help the viewer imagine their own life without the senses we all take for granted. I think that every single person in the world should watch this film as it explores just how exactly our senses define us, what they mean to us and what it would be like to live without them. You will gain a new gratitude for life upon exiting the theatre (providing, hopefully, that it gets picked up for distribution) and the film's final five minutes will leave you shaking for minutes afterward, wiping the tears from your eyes.

Update: Another great review, this from Cinematical Moviefone who write:

In the end, though, what carries 'Perfect Sense' is its direction, its cinematography, the poetry of its images, and the wild, raw, sensual performances put forth by its cast. Certain scenes are unforgettable: when the terrifying wave of the syndrome hits Susan, she's in the parking lot at her car, and as a woman tries to help her, they are both overcome with hunger. The woman eats her lipstick; Susan rips into the bouquet of flowers the woman had been holding and gnaws on the buds. Across town, Michael and his fellow chefs are stuffing themselves with horrible concoctions -- spoonfuls of mustard from the jar, raw fish with their bare hands, what looks like an industrial strength bottle of syrup, anything within reach. And then it passes, and they all snap out of it, wondering why they're covered in condiments and nauseated.

Director David Mackenzie uses footage from around the world to show people from every culture experiencing this epidemic, united as they fall apart. Eventually Glasgow looks like it's been overrun by wild animals; stores have been looted, trash bins overthrown, people gripped by anger storm the streets and riot, and the people who end up deaf are told to stay in their houses where it's safe. This is a grim love story indeed. Yet, as the narrator tells us, life goes on. Some people choose to loot stores, but others still go in and do their jobs, if only because they don't know what else to do but keep going.

Dark and strikingly beautiful, strange and occasionally a touch silly, 'Perfect Sense' is not a perfect movie, but it's worth seeking out for its unique vision that is hard to shake long after you've left its world behind.

Another EXCELLENT review, well written at Screencrave, definitely read this.

At this year’s
Sundance Film Festival, we at ScreenCrave have been making a big deal out of Kevin Smith’s Red State for the last few days, because it’s been the hottest ticket, carried the most controversy, and frankly, been most exciting movie so far. But with the premier of David Mackenzie’s Perfect Sense, it is without a doubt that we’ve seen the best, most effective and affecting movie of the festival. The film is a romantic/sci-fi/horror film which stars Ewan McGregor and Eva Green. It is graceful, tender, heartbreaking, and terrifying. It is also a movie with a very organic flow, with plot reveals that are best left as a surprise. But it is impossible to discuss the emotional weight this film carries without getting into some of these finer points. So the following review contains a few mild *SPOILERS* with regard to the story, so please be warned.

The technical aspects work in perfect harmony to achieve the aforementioned tone: the editing is frenetic and disorienting while in the throes of the disease, and the camera work is smooth and calm when the couple’s love is growing. For example, a long shot on the two lovers’ faces, one in profile and one straight on, merge as they lie in bed holds for a long period to paint their newfound unity. The film’s score is understated, yet dramatic with swelling strings and soft piano melodies leading the listener to an emotionally vulnerable space which the story then takes advantage of. And special note should be made for supporting actors Ewen Brennen[sic] (Trainspotting) and Stephen Dellane [sic] (44 Inch Chest), whose clear understanding of their roles as friends in Michael and Susan’s respective lives bring a sense of fun and rationality to the turmoil as the necessity for those types in their lives increases. Consequently, when succumb to the disease, as everyone does, it carries particular emotional weight.

Two more great reviews, first from Pajiba: Again, I realize the emotional aspect of this pandemic is silly when written out, and sometimes a little silly on the screen as well. But overall, it tees up some important and strong beats in Susan and Mike’s growing relationship, and it really allows McGregor and Green to do a lot with their roles. (And yes, both of them show their naughty bits, which comes as no surprise as we’ve known for a long time that McGregor and Green are comfortable with on-screen nudity). The rest of the cast is solid, though given a lot less to work with, and Ewan Bremner (playing a friend and colleague of Mike’s) gets a special hat-tip.The movie is beautifully shot, aside from a few handheld shots that felt out of place, and carries a continuing and growing sense of dread and eventual heartbreak, even while showing the growth of this relationship between Mike and Susan. It actually shares certain similarities with another Sundance premier, Another Earth, though I think it hits its notes a little better, and can also be considered a kin to the superior City of Men. Perfect Sense is neither a fun nor comfortable movie to watch, nor is it a perfect movie, but it is a very good, emotional film that I am likely to revisit.

From Hitfix comes another well-written piece; excerpts as follows:
For the most part, "Perfect Sense" is almost a two-hander. Green and McGregor are the only developed characters and both actors do strong work with parts that build to one emotional high-wire moment after another. Green has a couple good moments with an under-utilized Stephen Dillane, while McGregor has a welcome "Trainspotting" reunion with Ewen Bremner, who contributes a few funny moments.
"Perfect Sense" is a movie where you have to be willing to go along with its journey and I mostly was. I was constantly aware of the movie's very rigorous structure/progression, but I never tired of pondering the questions it raised. In terms of comparable recent pieces of speculative fiction, I'd place "Perfect Sense" a good distance behind "Children of Men," but a good distance ahead of the "Blindness" feature.

From Twitter: Total Film
Total Film
. Perfect sense is haunting, life affirming and showcases ewan mcgregor at the best he's been in years

From FilmStage (Spoilers at link):
This positive outlook engulfs the entire film, staunchly separating itself from dystopias like Blindness. It’s closer to Children of Men in this way. Where that film finds hope in a child, Mackenzie’s film finds hope in the power of love...

Mackenzie has always been an extremely confident filmmaker, pushing his narratives as far as they need to go, for better and worse. Spread is the darkest version of the playboy myth we’ll ever get, while Young Adam, which also starred McGregor, connects guilt and sex all under the plot line of a mysterious dead body. This film is refreshingly more friendly than those two, but no less ambitious. When the characters on screen can’t hear, we the audience can’t hear. When they can’t see, we can’t see.

And at the end there’s love, nothing else. It’s sappy, sure, but in keeping with the whole rest of the film. McGregor and Green and Mackenzie and Aakeson convinced me. Can they convince you?

From Gordon and the Whale.com: Mackenzie takes a difficult idea and puts it to film brilliantly using images and situations to truly depict what it would be like to go without the traits that make us human. I was intrigued to see how such a story would be portrayed, and the performances by McGregor and Green were magnetic as their palpable chemistry kept them coming back together and gave the audience a hope to focus on.

Here is an honest mixed review of the film from Time out NY:

Did we mention there's a love story in here as well, between Ewan McGregor's commitmentphobic chef and Eva Green's scientist, whose hot-and-heavy humping sessions seem to be keeping her from her work? (We realize that getting it on with McGregor probably takes precedence over everything else, but if the world is beset with a crippling disease, maybe you could put in a little more lab time?) But the focus is all part of Mackenzie's master plan, in which the end itself is less important than how we retain our humanity and still try to connect when the shit hits the fan. "Life goes on," is a constant refrain, as people lash out, lose one way of processing the environment and then start from scratch.

If this sounds silly, it is; Perfect Sense is also the most sensual dystopia movie you're likely to see, however, which complicates things. Mackenzie has a knack for amping things up and overwhelming you with tricks—color, volume, visual textures—that help emphasize what you miss when they disappear. I can't think of a movie that's balanced the utterly ridiculous and the profound with such panache, or that's inspired me to roll my eyes and dab them simultaneously. When I've mentioned my admiration for its hyperstylized, manipulative yet oddly moving fade-out, my fellow critics ask me if I'd gone crazy. No, I've just let myself drink in Perfect Sense's touchy-feely vibe and ended up surprisingly sated. I'm not crazy. Though those visions of angry storm clouds I keep seeing does make me wonder.

First Showing.net: Director David Mackenzie (who brought Spread to Sundance in 2009) crafts a beautiful story about humanity, but more importantly, whether love can survive when humans are deprived of the very senses that allow them to experience it. Magnificently shot and phenomenally acted by both McGregor and Green, this film paints a picture the end of the world where our emotions explode out of control before we lose an intricate part of our being. Stark but with a glimmer of hope from love, this film is a unique romance with a sci-fi backdrop that is riveting, heart-wrenching and poignant.

So, yes of course in all fairness, there have been some who did not care for the piece and unfortunately imo totally expected by now alas and no surprise, THR didnt like the film ho hum, and a guy from Empire online tweeted he was disappointed alas (figure their review will correspond), plus not sure what the deal is with this snark filled piece from Saltlakemagazine Will post more as they come in!

There are loads of photos and reviews pouring in, and this post will be updated continually over the next few days. (even Sigma's own beautiful Gillian Berrie shown with producer Malte Grunert)

CHECK IT OUT! COLIN KENNEDY interviewing gorgeous Eva Green in gorgeous B &W *loves*
Loads of tabs (poor Eva who looked fab all day)

Plus David & Ewen wear the puffy parkas at the Variety booth lolz

Minute Afterparty pics held at the Carrera Escape can be seen here.
For example, many of the interviews Eva Green did, same with David Mackenzie & Ewen for Sundance, Variety etc will be posted within the next few hours and days, so stay tuned!

I will also update my flickr with these, but check out the press pics from the event here via Daylife (3 pages!), and Getty (75 pics mostly of Eva). More soon!
Thanks to the Sundance Festival, here is the video from Ewan McGregor

UPDATE :From a kind soul named Jack, here is video of David's complete remarks before the film, along with intros from Gillian and more

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