In recent years we have had Horror and Thriller movies that have elevated themselves above the many tropes and clichés of the genres. The Babadook, The Witch and Hereditary have all challenged viewers in different ways. The Perfection wants to join these movies in pushing the boundaries of the genres and viewing expectations. Unfortunately, it’s not as clever as it thinks it is and falls short of the mark. Netflix are trying to give audience to some genre movies that would have fallen by the wayside otherwise which I applaud and their choices are getting better.
It’s a story of trauma and obsession but I can’t explore this more without giving any spoilers. So I won’t be covering the plot at all. Having said that I will say, this film that doesn’t require repeat viewing. Once you know what is coming it loses its impact. There are no hidden layers to find, it’s pretty much laid bare when the credits role. That’s not to say it doesn’t leave questions, just not in a good way.
The story is very twisty and takes several unexpected turns, which kept me engaged and guessing. The use of non-linear storytelling and presenting the scenes from different perspective is will handles and makes for more interesting viewing. If this story had been told in a simple linear way, it would have been a much flatter experience.
The problem comes when you get the reveal and it all falls in to place, or to pieces. The decisions made, now seem excessive and the actual likelihood of them working out in the way they have is slim at best. Even the resolution is a head scratcher in the world that has been set up. The characters involved have a level of fame and celebrity that would invite questions following the credits, not a satisfying resolution.
Performances are strong across the board, Allison Williams in particular has the ability to project an array of emotions and thoughts through simple facial tics and quirks. I have enjoyed her in most everything she has done and look forward to what she does next. She also shares a spark with Logan Browning in the first two acts that makes the escalation of events more horrific and impactful. Unfortunately, like other things this falls apart at the end and where they felt natural before, the chemistry feels awkward and forced. It’s such a shame to have wasted what was built up in the first hour.
In addition to the performances, the cinematography is stunning. The City locations are beautiful and the framing of characters during key scenes is striking. Even when things get gross (and they get gross!), there is clear thought to the composition of the shot. This does elevate the performances and when and the impact of some of the reveals.
For a film about music, the score is a bit rote. The overplay of classical music is nice and the music itself is lovely. However, I think it was missed opportunity to do something interesting and new with it. If you want to present musicians at the top of their skill and creative ability, the music should reflect this. Moreover, the use of music falls apart at the very end and the music used is so out of place for the characters, scene and situation.
In summary, The Perfection is an enjoyable thriller that will keep you guessing right up to the end. The cast are great and deliver some truly shocking moments. However, it misses a few notes at the end spiralling into a mess, which will leave the viewer questioning. As a Netflix Original Movie (or exclusive release) this is more engaging than the disappointing Velvet Buzzsaw and better told than the bland Birdbox but is still not hitting the mark. There are things here to appreciate but not enough to keep me excited for what Netflix do next.