The Perfection – 2019

Director Richard Shephard
Screenplay Richard Shepard, Nicole Snyder, Eric C. Charmelo
Starring Allison Williams, Logan Browning, Steven Weber, Alaina Huffman

The Perfection is one of the few films in which the trailer seems to give it all away, but it really serves to set the viewer up for something entirely different. This is primarily a pleasant surprise. The story itself could be somewhat disappointing were it to be told in a more straightforward manner.

Charlotte (Williams) is a mess when we begin the story. Seeing her mother passing away, we get the distinct idea that she’s been suffering for a long time. As soon as she is free to, she gives a call to her former mentor Anton (Weber) in the Bachoff Music Academy. She meets up with them in Shanghai, where three young cellists are competing to become students in the Academy.

Charlotte meets Lizzie (Browning), who is world renowned and the cellist who replaced her when she went off to live with her ailing mother. They quickly hit it off and share a night of intimacy. They use some rare time off the next day to take a trip to a remote location in a tour bus. Lizzie gets violently sick and they’re forced to exit the bus. Soon after, tragedy ensues.

The film takes another look at the events at this point and we’re given a newer, skewed view. What happens from here, I leave to the viewer.

What can be shared is each chapter of the story gives another view on what has just been shown. It’s a gimmick that becomes predictable by the time we’re given the third adjustment.

Where the story succeeds is in the direction and pacing. Its stark and intense, and the performances of the two leads are surprisingly effective. Williams especially finds that lane between honorable and menacing that she discovered in Get Out.

The rest of the cast is developed only enough to move the plot forward. This is okay for the purpose of the morality play. It’s even better if you’re just looking for straight up horror. What’s less assured is how it will bear up to repeated views. For a once through, it’s perfectly acceptable.

(***1/2 out of *****)

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