‘The Perfection’ Has A Sexual Violence Problem
The Perfection has a ton of promise. Broken up into four parts, Netflix physiological thriller follows Charlotte (Get Out’s Allison Williams)–a former cello prodigy forced to retreat from the limelight to care for her ailing mother. Ten years later, following her mom’s death, Charlotte tracks down her former cello instructors Anton and Paloma (Steven Weber and Alaina Huffman) in the midst of a ritzy global showcase in Shanghai–where they are celebrating their newest music sensation, Lizzie (Dear White People’s Logan Browning). Eager to return to her former glory, Charlotte quickly befriends Lizzie and the duo spiral into a vibrant and rapid pace friendship that is fringed with elements of erotica and reverence.
Avoiding the exhausting narrative of successful women who are envious of one another–Charlotte and Lizzie cling to one another, bonding over their shared love of music and their desire for adventure. Rather quickly they decide to embark on a make-shift vacation across Asia using Lizzie’s two weeks off as an opportunity to get away. That’s when things really get interesting.
Throwing caution to the wind, director Richard Shepard uses the sometimes campy time-rewind device effectively to reveal what was hidden in the first part of the film. What’s unveiled is much more sinister than anything Single White Female ever delivered. Rather cleverly, Browning and Williams lean into their characters, convincing the audience of the film’s authenticity despite the often overdone dialogue and terrifying brutality.
Shepard succeeds at creating a taut tension in the film–heightening the audience’s awareness before anything sinister is ever revealed. He’s also not afraid to step full force into the horror genre–showing us shots of Charlotte’s dead mother, or a sequence involving bugs running just underneath the skin of Lizzie’s arm. It’s all masterful for awhile–until it isn’t.
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