“And why do we work so hard, Charlotte?”
“To be the best.”
“And why is that, Charlotte?”
“Because it’s what’s expected of us.”
Richard Shepard’s The Perfection turns on Charlotte Willmore (Get Out’s Allison Williams), “a rare and gifted talent” whose promise as a world class cellist was derailed when she needed to return home to care for her ailing mother.
Upon her mother’s eventual passing nearly a decade later, Charlotte reaches out to her former mentor and teacher, Anton Bachoff (Steven Weber), and in doing so, comes into the orbit of Anton’s latest star pupil and “most prized protégé,” Elizabeth Wells (Powers’ Logan Browning).
What follows is a taut and twisty tale that bears witness to the sordid costs that sometimes need to be paid to attain that titular perfection.
While some may argue The Perfection is more thriller than horror, I would point out that the things that characters do to each other in the film are chilling, gruesome, and ultimately, horrible.
The screenplay--credited to Shepard, Eric Charmelo, and Nicole Snyder--takes a number of pivots in its 90 minute running time, and with each turn, fundamentally changes the type of movie you believe you’re watching. You start off The Perfection thinking it’s this kind of film, when actually, it’s that, until you realize, No, wait, it’s really that other kind of film.
It’s the kind of narrative that, even if you sense the twist coming, it doesn’t significantly blunt its impact when it lands, and with each turn, light is cast on statements and sentiments made previously, forcing us to view them in hindsight as more weighted than they initially seemed.
All in all, it’s an elegantly sinister tale that builds to a savage crescendo, closing with Chromatics’ abbreviated cover of Hole’s “Petals,” a blackly satisfying story for those of you who treasure both narrative surprises and horror that speaks to its time.
“She’s the grace of this world
She’s too pure
For the likes of this world
This world is a whore”
(The Perfection OS courtesy of impawards.com.)