Scots Ewan McGregor and David Mackenzie reunite for a Danish script fuelled by serendipity.
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7 Nov 2013 - 12:10 PM  UPDATED 23 Mar 2017 - 1:48 PM

Have you ever seen someone eat soap? You can in Perfect Sense, although it's not actually soap of course. As Ewan McGregor says in this Q&A, the filmmaking team made a big lump of white chocolate look like soap. That aside, the scenes, shot in a bath, made me ponder how bad it would be lose the sense of taste and how it might change the behaviour of the whole world if it happened on a widespread basis. It could, for example, boost cinema box office because no-one would bother to go to restaurants.

Perfect Sense is currently streaming at SBS On Demand. See it, because it's a corker. It's a disaster film but without massive waves destroying high rise buildings or the ground opening up below; more of a yes-this-could-really-happen disaster film. It's also a love story but with none of the saccharine sweetness of many; more of a I'm-reluctant-because-I'm-fine-on-my-own kind of love story. It also stars the always hugely appealing Ewan McGregor.

The ambitious drama didn't have much of an impact at the box office and was one of the few movies that I had not seen in this year's Saturday night line-up. Phew! It is sad to think it could have just passed me, also because it satisfies a film passion of mine: musing on how serendipity and personal connections and other indirect forces shape what actually ends up on screen. I'll give you three examples of what I mean.

Firstly, Danish writer Kim Fupz Aakeson originally wrote it as a small Danish reality film but in the end it was filmed in Glasgow, which would have had a major ripple effect through the whole film. The shift would never have happened if it wasn't for the script swapping that is part of a decade-long relationship between director David Mackenzie's production company Sigma Films and Danish company Zentropa (of which Lars von Trier is one of the partners).

Secondly, McGregor and director David Mackenzie worked together on Young Adam. If they hadn't got on exceptionally well together back then there'd probably be someone else playing McGregor. Also on the acting front, I wonder whether Ewen Bremner was cast as the other chef in the film because he'll always feel associated with McGregor because of Trainspotting – and whether Denis Lawson, consciously or not, was considered and cast because he's McGregor's uncle (they've never acted together until now). As an aside, all four are Scottish.

Thirdly, soon after he made the film, Mackenzie said here that it's “been a recent realisation that love is good”. Previously he'd thought of romance as doomed and muses that perhaps fatherhood has changed his outlook. I guess that readers with love in their life will think that's a good note to end on while those without might not.

 

Watch 'Perfect Sense' at SBS On Demand