A film every bit as self-indulgent as the industry it seeks to portray, Perfume is a bottomless pit of cameo appearances, long boring scenes and characters that go absolutely nowhere. Generally a reviewer will offer up some kind of synopsis of a film when they analyse it in print, but with Perfume, that's nearly impossible. Just as James Toback's Black and White was a meandering trip to nowhere, so too is this pompous mess - only Perfume doesn't have the message behind it that Toback might claim was prevalent in his work.In fact, it's hard to say what exactly was going on here. If it was a satire on the fashion industry, where was the satire? If it was a portrait of the fashion industry, where was the realism? If it was T&A, where was the T&A?
Rather than show any insight into anything at all, Perfume seems to be an 'actor payback' - as if someone has called in some favours and had a series of celebs fill in some cameos on a very underdone script (in fact, there was no script). Carmen Electra is on screen for all of about three lines, Kyle MacLachlan ditto, in the end you don't have a clue why most of these people were even shown to begin with.
The performances are sound enough, especially when you take into account that everything was improvised, but why should we be expected to pay eight bucks to watch what amounts to an actors experiment? Mike Figgis' Timecode was improvised, but it also featured a four-way split screen from start to finish.If you're gonna go experimental, you might as well go all the way. Perfume goes nowhere near all the way, in fact it barely gets out of the blocks. It's rubbish, and I mean that in the nastiest way.