Perfume (Rental) (2001)

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Rental Version Only
Available for Rent

Cover Art

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Details At A Glance

General Extras
Category Drama Menu Animation & Audio
Theatrical Trailer
Rating Rated MA
Year Of Production 2001
Running Time 102:11
RSDL / Flipper No/No Cast & Crew
Start Up Menu
Region Coding 4 Directed By Michael Rymer

Universal Pictures Home Video
Starring Joanne Baron
Sonia Braga
Carmen Electra
Omar Epps
Peter Gallagher
Jeff Goldblum
Harry Hamlin
Jared Harris
Mariel Hemingway
Leslie Mann
Paul Sorvino
Rita Wilson
Harris Yulin
Case ?
RPI Rental Music Adam Plack

Video Audio
Pan & Scan/Full Frame None English Dolby Digital 5.1 (448Kb/s)
English Dolby Digital 2.0 (224Kb/s)
Widescreen Aspect Ratio 1.78:1
16x9 Enhancement
16x9 Enhanced
Video Format 576i (PAL)
Original Aspect Ratio Unknown Miscellaneous
Jacket Pictures No
Subtitles None Smoking Yes
Annoying Product Placement No
Action In or After Credits No

NOTE: The Profanity Filter is ON. Turn it off here.

Plot Synopsis

    Perfume is a slow but rewarding drama, with a fresh approach, and some brilliant acting performances.

    It is hard for me to write a plot synopsis for this movie, as Perfume does not have a strong linear story line. It has various story threads that run through it, and intermingle on occasion. Perfume is set in the fashion industry in New York City. The Director, Michael Rymer, has given the movie an almost documentary feel. There is a lot of erratic hand-held camera work, jump-cuts in the editing, and all the scenes and dialogue in the movie are improvised by the actors. The results are inspiring, and the movie has a freshness and the acting a realism that is undeniable.

    Of the main three story lines in the movie, the first concerns two women who are partners in a small design label. One is given the opportunity to betray the other, and sell-out her idealistic dreams in favour of immediate corporate success. The second story concerns an older and established designer coming to terms with a terminal illness. The third story concerns a self-obsessed fashion-magazine editor being confronted by a dark secret from her past.

    The acting has a brilliant naturalistic style that makes watching this movie almost voyeuristic. There are some scenes in this movie which represent the most believable and riveting acting that I have ever seen. There are also some touching scenes that will leave a lump in the throat of even the most hardened viewer. Perfume is a great ensemble piece, and there are a long list of big-name actors making cameo appearances in this movie. I must note, however, that I found the marketing for this movie to be misleading. For example, both the movie's trailer, and the DVD cover claim that Carmen Electra stars in this movie. Electra has about one line in this movie. Also, the DVD cover is dominated by Estella Warren, and reads: "features Estella Warren - Star of 'Planet of the Apes'". Warren appears briefly in one early scene in the movie, and in a later brief scene without any dialogue. There are even more examples, but I'm sure that you get the idea already.

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Transfer Quality


    The transfer is presented in an aspect ratio of 1.78:1 and is 16x9 enhanced.

    The transfer appears a little soft throughout, and occasionally has very soft backgrounds. The black level and shadow detail are acceptable.

    The transfer features realistic skin tones, and a rich colour that suits the subject matter and art direction of the movie.

    There are a few MPEG artefacts, but nothing too distracting. There is some mild pixelization, for example at 26:35, some mild posterization, for example the face at 15:04, and some mild macro-blocking, such as on the pillar in the background at 29:31.

    The transfer suffers from aliasing throughout, but I never found it too distracting. For example, there is a shimmer on the letters on the desk at 5:14, and a shimmer on the lettering of the sign in the background at 28:30.

    There are film artefacts throughout this movie in the form of small white marks. Early examples can be seen at 3:46 and 4:26.

    There is also some slight edge enhancement visible, such as at 23:27.

    There are no subtitles on this DVD and this is a single-layered disc.

Video Ratings Summary
Shadow Detail
Film-To-Video Artefacts
Film Artefacts


    There are only two audio tracks on this DVD. Apart from the default English Dolby Digital 5.1 audio track, there is also an English Dolby Stereo-Surround track.

    The dialogue quality and audio sync are excellent on both audio tracks.

    The musical score is credited to Adam Plack, but the movie's music is mainly comprised of familiar operatic arias, remixed with a techno-beat. This actually sounds a lot better than my description, and this style of music suits the movie very well. In fact, I would be interested in obtaining the movie's soundtrack.

    Considering that this is a dialogue-based drama, with absolutely no 'movie-action', the surround presence and activity really surprised me. The surround sound mix could almost be described as aggressive. The rear speakers are used effectively to help carry the score, for example at 9:52 and provide ambience, for example the traffic at 11:01. This really adds to the voyeuristic quality of the movie -- we feel that we are in the car with the characters, or sitting at their table at the restaurant. Consider for example the restaurant scene at 31:49, where the viewer is surrounded by the hum of other diners, the clatter of cutlery, and occasionally even the muted background noise of traffic outside the restaurant. The surrounds are used subtly, yet effectively to maintain a very immersive soundfield throughout the movie. Full-marks for this!

    The subwoofer never made its presence known, but due to the nature of the movie, that is not surprising.

Audio Ratings Summary
Audio Sync
Surround Channel Use


    The extras are very slim.


     An animated menu, presented in an aspect ratio of 1.78:1, 16x9 enhanced, with Dolby Digital 5.1 audio.

Theatrical Trailer

     This one minute and thirty four second trailer is presented in an aspect ratio of 1.33:1, with Dolby Digital stereo surround-encoded audio.

R4 vs R1

NOTE: To view non-R4 releases, your equipment needs to be multi-zone compatible and usually also NTSC compatible.

    Perfume is to be released on DVD in Region 1 in April 2002. From what I can gather, even though ours is a rental-only release, there is no real difference between our version and theirs. It may be even, but I would favour the local release for its affordability, and most importantly, its superior PAL image.


    Perfume is a movie that will sneak up on you if you let it. The movie has a very slow pace, but just as I would look at my watch, or begin to think that the movie has ground to a halt, there is a dramatic pay-off.

    The video quality is reasonable.

    The audio quality is very good.

    The extras are really not worth mentioning.

Ratings (out of 5)


© Brandon Robert Vogt (warning: bio hazard)
Monday, February 25, 2002
Review Equipment
DVDPioneer DV-535, using S-Video output
DisplayGrundig Elegance 82-2101 (82cm, 16x9). Calibrated with Video Essentials. This display device is 16x9 capable.
Audio DecoderBuilt in to amplifier/receiver. Calibrated with Video Essentials.
AmplificationSony STR DE-545
SpeakersSony SS-V315 x5; Sony SA-WMS315 subwoofer

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Comments (Add)
Soundtrack from Perfume - KB