Director: David Mackenzie
Writer: Kim Fupz Aakeson (screenplay)
Stars: Ewan McGregor, Eva Green and Lauren Tempany
Motion Picture Rating: 15
Runtime: 92 minutes
This is an odd little film that had a limited run in cinemas. IMDB labels it as drama / romance / sci-fi and certainly it covers those bases. The drama and the romance are delivered by way of the relationship between scientist Susan (Eva Green) and chef Michael (Ewan McGregor). This is the heart of the film. Michael is cocky, but charming and he pursues the rather severe Susan, a neighbour to his Glaswegian restaurant. They fall into bed quickly, sexual chemistry to the fore, and later they fall in love.
The sci-fi element concerns a mysterious global epidemic that shuts down human senses. At first people lose their sense of smell – severe olfactory syndrome or SOS as it is labelled – and then go taste, hearing and finally sight. In advance of losing one’s senses the affected suffer strange, but related episodes of a psychological trauma. Before losing taste people devour food feverishly and before losing hearing they scream and rant uncontrollably.
This is an art house film and as such it contains strange and clever camera shots, archival footage and it jumps back and forth in time. All of that is handled well and the film mostly looks good. Unfortunately the sound quality, certainly on my DVD, was dire and not helped by an over-bearing soundtrack and some heavy Scottish accents. It might have been on purpose, but I often found it too difficult to follow the dialogue – my own sensory challenge.
Eva Green, surely the world’s best looking scientist, improves through the film, but Ewan McGregor delivers a good performance from the first minute. Together they become a plausible couple and their relationship seems natural in what are highly abnormal times. Their descent into sensory darkness and Glasgow’s fall into anarchy become poignant and for an odd little film it managed to move me by the end. This is an interesting and touching film about love.