The Perfection **
Starring: Allison Williams, Logan Browning, Alaina Huffman, Steven Weber Director: Richard Shepard Country: USA Sometimes it’s really hard to be perfect, especially when you’ve been striving your whole life to achieve it. Lizzie (Browning) is the musical protégé of cello maestro Anton (Weber). The darling of classical music, she is playing concerts worldwide, but at an event in Shanghai she meets Charlotte (Williams), Anton’s previous apprentice who has spent the last ten years caring for her dying mother. The two have a lot in common over their shared experience, and before long they’re having sex and going on holiday together... but the holiday doesn’t go to plan. What begins is an aggressive body-horror sequence in which Lizzie is somehow convinced there are bugs living inside her skin. In the middle of the Chinese countryside, she falls to pieces as and has to go to extremes to make it stop, but of course, nothing is as it seems. The film plays with narrative as it rewinds itself and reveals elements of scenes that were concealed before, but this device feels just a little too easy, laying the story neatly out for us instead of making us do any thinking for ourselves. Basing it within the world of classical music also makes it feel initially high-brow, but by the end its setting feels like sadomasochistic cult, where “we must do what’s expected of us” becomes the emotionless chant of expressionless initiates. Like an episode of The Twilight Zone, there is nothing high-brow about its story. There are twists, turns, double-crosses and bloody violence, but despite its clearly large budget, The Perfection is a remarkably trashy film. It’s pure pulp fiction that is, ironically, a LONG way from perfect. Allison Williams makes for a strong lead, but with weak support, a flimsy story and messy timeline, there’s not much going for this straight-to-Netflix release. OUT NOW ON NETFLIX.