I haven’t felt this way about a movie since Green Room, another well-regarded thriller that made me sick to my stomach. Punks v Nazis had a steady guiding hand in director Jeremy Saulnier at least, whereas The Perfection is all over the place.
Kudos to stars Logan Browning and Allison Williams, however, both game for whatever the script threw at ’em. And make no mistake, the script has left a wall of scattered ideas in its wake, full of a litany of random influences and gimmicks. In the span of a brisk 90 minutes (clearly a mandate from on high at Netflix, an unfortunate trend), The Perfection is a music school meet-cute, contagion horror, psychodrama, and ultimately revenge thriller. I don’t mind a tonal mishmash, but this film will give you whiplash. Filmmaker Richard Shephard cobbles together four or five left turns and a stylistic checklist that doesn’t help the patchwork tone. Rewinding, splicing, split-diopting, Dutch angles and spinning dollies, the film is restless. There are grace notes, such as the music itself or tender moments between Browning’s prodigy and Williams’ former pupil. Despite the numerous detours getting there, you can tell where it’s going the moment Steven Weber takes the stage as a prestigious academy instructor and noble of the cello world.
Much like Green Room, I wanted to like it. And less I spoil it I can’t exactly trace the base of humanity that lays at the heart of this film. Just know that no amount of twisting and turning and bleeding and puking could make The Perfection truly thrilling.