Playing with images dear to the cinema since “All About Me” (1950), by Joseph L. Mankiewicz, in “The Perfection”, director Richard Shepard takes up one of the strongest arguments ever used in cinema, choosing to leave the audience drifting throughout much of the film. The screenplay, written by Shepard, Eric C. Charmelo and Nicole Snyder, insists on boasting something dirty, carefully hidden behind the apparent sweetness of someone above suspicion.
Allison Williams plays Charlotte, a model alumnus of the Bachoff Academy of Music, a conservatory outside of Boston known for bringing together the best musicians in the United States. Soon, we learn that Charlotte’s mother is dying, which is why the young girl decides to interrupt her studies in order to devote herself fully to helping her. The subtlety, the resistance to handing the gold over in a first onslaught of audiences is what immediately catches the eye in “The Perfection”. We cannot say with absolute certainty whether the departure of the cellist to the shipyard will be final, since after the death of Charlotte’s mother, she returns to seek Anton Bachoff, the former mentor embodied by Steven Weber, during a trip to the Chinese city of Shanghai. with his wife, Paloma, by Alaina Huffman. The two are the owners of the school where the protagonist learned her first chords, and their warm welcome, which culminates in Charlotte’s trip to China to meet them, gives her a glimmer of hope for rebuilding her life. career abandoned in the bud. But, although very young, time passes for her and the eyes of Anton, Alaina, the rest of the public and, above all, the specialized critics, are fixed on Elizabeth, Lizzie, brilliant performance of Logan Browning, the new protege of the boss, who now takes his place.
Charlotte’s defection ends up going unnoticed, thanks to the way Shepard manages to make the narrative increasingly ambiguous, but meeting Logan turns the key to Williams’ character. The director is adept at trying to mask Charlotte’s unease at meeting her rival, and for that he uses the less obvious strategy, which is to imply that the two are very interested in Charlotte’s life. the other – Charlotte, in particular. As in Mankiewicz’s film, Shepard expresses the newcomer’s admiration, here already consecrated, for the fallen veteran, although she can still gather around her an entourage genuinely interested in what she may have to share. . Charlotte is only one part of the vast array of base interests that animate human relations, and she knows it. So much so that he responds to his colleague’s harassment, he also starts flirting with her, the two end up going out and end the night in bed. Romantic commitment may be wacky for Charlotte, but it’s not for Lizzie, who wants her ever closer and invites her to travel with her, heading west to China, by bus. . Charlotte, who has nowhere to go, is grateful to go with him, but her submission has a special purpose.
At some point in the journey, the plot twist occurs. Williams and Browning are able to show the aura of panic in their characters, each using the opposite method: whereas in Lizzie we clearly see the suffering – first physical, then also mental, since terror dominates her -, aroused by the realization that she has no idea what is going on, Charlotte must also force herself to point out to her now friend that she shares her fear, an interesting stage exercise, given that it is she who caused it all. In this part of the story, Shepard uses the resource of powerful analysis and rewinds the entire film, in order to present events that the narrative had already touched on, but filling in the gaps he left on purpose with new ones. data and an entirely different context, which depicts the inhuman violence that Browning’s character reaps. It is then that Charlotte and Lizzie finally change places to, in the final sequence, become one.
“The Perfection” does not allow itself to be overcome by the scandal component which acquires increasing strength as the story unfolds, however urgent it may be to keep them on the agenda, and presents a coherent whole , precisely because it doesn’t relax after a meager plot, but is so well told, it feels like it doesn’t need another minute. The talent of Richard Shepard confirms the maxim which advocates simplicity, however difficult it may be to achieve it.
Direction: Richard Shepard
Gender: Suspense/Psychological horror
To note: 9/10