May 13, 2019 Perfect (Movie Review)
Is control power? Is perfection worth its pursuit or is it merely a guaranteed form of destruction? Step into the surreal world of Perfect. Executive Producer Steven Soderbergh presents the brand-new Sci-Fi Thriller, which arrives to select theaters beginning Friday, May 17th, 2019, thanks to Breaker. Fans can see screenings of the film at the Village East Cinemas in New York City on May 17th, on May 24th at Laemmle Ahrya Fine Arts in Los Angeles, or wait for the film’s exclusive VOD launch on Breaker.io on June 21st.
A tragic event causes an emotionally disturbed young man (Garrett Wareing: Independence Day: Resurgence 2016, Pretty Little Liars: The Perfectionists series) to turn to his often absent mother (Abbie Cornish: Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri 2017, Tom Clancy’s Jack Ryan series) for support. Provisioned with a key to a mysterious clinic located deep in the jungle and dropped off outside its gates, he soon finds himself among the beautiful people, automatons who exist merely to pose.
This all changes when he meets Sarah (Courtney Eaton: Mad Max: Fury Road 2015, Gods of Egypt 2016), a young woman who urges him to make his selection and begin his journey. However, the path toward growth often contains more questions than answers, and it could very well be his ultimate undoing.
Perfect made its world premiere at SXSW 2018 and went on to be screened at the likes of Sitges Film Festival 2018, Brooklyn Horror Film Festival 2018, Tallinn Black Nights 2018, Denver Film Festival 2018, L’Utopiales 2018, Shivers 2018, and Sci-Fi London 2019. Additionally, the film has already been nominated for several awards, including the Adam Yauch Hörnblowér Award at SXSW.
Clocking in at 85 minutes, Perfect is a feature-length debut for Director Eddie Alcazar (Tapia documentary 2013, Fuckkkyouuu short 2015) and was written by Ted Kupper (The Assistant short 2013). The film features an exceptional cast that also includes Tao Okamoto (The Wolverine 2013, Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice 2016), Maurice Compte (Breaking Bad series, Narcos series), and more.
Billed as a Sci-Fi Thriller with scenes of body horror, Perfect is exactly this and yet so much more. A truly bizarre journey that must be experienced firsthand, it’s hard to explain what one should expect from the film. Loosely put, there are some corollaries with 2018’s Elizabeth Harvest, scientifically speaking, as well as the equally aesthetic-oriented The Neon Demon (2016). However, Perfect is a unique tale, a cautionary look at the search for perfection — in mind, body, and spirit. It is also a film that explores the idea of whether we can ever truly be cured of our darkest urges when they have existed since before our ancestors ruled the jungles.
To do this, Perfect utilizes a visually arresting, stunning aesthetic full of bizarre Sci-Fi twinges, languid transitions, and flawlessly beautiful flesh. There are moments of frank eroticism, scenes that relish in dark, black and white body horror, and moody tones that superbly craft the film’s haunting atmosphere. Aided by a flawless but suitably quirky electronic score from Composer Flying Lotus (Date Night 2010, The Fifth Estate 2013), Perfect paints a surreal landscape that is as addictive as the enhancements undergone by its protagonist.
That star, who is only ever referred to as Vessel 13 (Wareing), undergoes strange visions, terrifying flashbacks, and a painful numbness as he begins his personal metamorphosis. Wareing depicts all of these bizarre happenings with a grace and elegance, and that helps to make the completely ludicrous somehow believable — or, at least, digestible. Be it ravenously devouring a peach in a truly elongated sequence or self-mutilating, Wareing commits to his character’s personal transformation and his key role in this evolutionary saga.
To be fair, Perfect is steeped in allegory and, sure, that makes it a bit bizarre. Which, let’s be honest, is highly likely to polarize audiences: those seeking cheap thrills may view the experience and its lack of concrete ‘answers’ as style over substance, while others are equally likely to embrace the film’s abstract metaphors and avant-garde approach to film-making. Whatever the case, if you’re willing to undergo the treatment and open your mind, you are likely to discover a film that comments on everything from genetic engineering to plastic surgery, paternal responsibility to violence and its evolutionary origins.
A perfect (pun very much intended) film for 2019, beautifully crafted, visually hypnotic, and intellectually haunting, Cryptic Rock gives Perfect 4.5 of 5 stars.