I watch a lot of crazy movies. Lots of movies with micro-budgets, and nothing but an insane idea. But sometimes a movie comes along that is so crazy, and so jacked up, I have to just stand back in amazement. The Perfection just such a movie. First, though, a bit of a trigger warning for some of you who haven’t seen it yet. This thing gets really gross in sections. Like, hurl at the screen kinds of gross. So, for those of you who haven’t seen it yet, you’ve been warned.
The Perfection really works hard to defy classification. If I were to throw some movies at you that might give you a hint at what you are in for, I’d probably go with US, The OA, and Get Out primarily. But there are strains of The Fly in there. Boxing Helena…if you remember that train wreck of a crazy movie. Can’t forget Frequencies! Oh, and maybe a dash of The Discovery? All that in one movie?!? Yeah, it’s shotgun blast, after shotgun blast of ideas and craziness. But it’s all done in a very Bandersnatch sort of a way that made the various themes and ideas work together in one cohesive unit.
Quick The Perfection Run Through
The rest of this discussion is 100% spoiler filled. Read at your own detriment. Better to go watch the film, then join us for the walk through, and then join us in the discussions to talk this crazy movie through with us. Now, instead of walking through the movie as we are shown it by Richard Shepard (who has a new episode of Twilight Zone that is definitely now on my wishlist, entitled Wunderkind), I think we’ll walk through it from Charlotte’s perspective, starting from the very very beginning. Make sense?
The Perfection -The Beginning
Charlotte Willmore (played by Allison Williams, of Get Out mindjob fame), is a wunderkind herself, who is given an opportunity to join the ultra-prestigious music school, Bachoff. And while at the school, she is rigorously worked night and day to attain musical perfection. (Thus the title, The Perfection.) And at the Bachoff, The Perfection is seen as the only true way to approach God. A holy sort of experience. But when she failed to reach this esteemed Perfection, she was abused, physically and sexually. Eventually Charlotte decided she had to make a run for it after hearing that her mother was becoming extremely ill. And one day, as she was deciding she need to run away, she sees the new, up-and-coming protege of Anton (played by Steven Weber) the head of the Bachoff, named Lizzie.
Charlotte, runs for her life, and spends the next ten years nursing her mother before she passes away. And while she was trapped by her mother, she decides on a plan of action for going back to the Bachoff in order to save Lizzie, and possibly get her revenge on Anton.
The Perfection – The Start
When Charlotte reaches out to the Bachoff, she is invited to join them on their talent search in China. When Charlotte arrives, she is welcomed with open arms, and Charlotte and Lizzie play for everyone in attendance. Then while together talking, they witness someone who throws up, and apparently, there is an airborne hemorrhagic fever spreading through across the Hunan border. So, when Lizzie invites Charlotte to join her on a wild, in-country trek, Charlotte decides to begin giving Lizzie the drug Levetiracetam…which is the same drug her mother was given. Except this time, she gives it to Lizzie with alcohol, which is known to cause hallucinations.
Lizzie, thinking she has this hemorrhagic fever that is spreading through the area, becomes certain that she has insects, worms, and beetles running through her system. Charlotte, determined to pull Lizzie from the Bachoff, and do anything necessary to get her out of this musical cult, entices Lizzie to cut her own hand off. Charlotte tells her immediately after she severed her arm that she only did it to save her. That Anton calls this a higher calling, but that what he was doing was just rape.
The Perfection – The Revenge
So the two of them decide that they are going to go after Anton. Lizzie heads to the Bachoff, explaining what happened, and how Charlotte convinced her to cut off her own hand. And Anton lets her know that she needs to leave, that she isn’t valuable to the Bachoff anymore. Which, is exactly what Charlotte said Anton would say, and it’s this final rejection that causes Lizzie to harden her resolve in order to get Anton for what he had done to her as a child.
When Charlotte comes to the Bachoff she is quickly captured, which was both Lizzie and Charlotte’s intention all along. They know that Charlotte will be asked to play The Perfection, but what they don’t count on is the fact that Anton will abuse the newest young apprentice, Mingzhu, if Charlotte fails. But in the end, they say they are going to rape Charlotte instead. What they don’t know, is that Lizzie had already drugged them via the drinks she made for everyone. Which conveniently kicked in just after Anton walked away. And having Theis, Geoffrey, and Paloma (Paloma being Anton’s wife) incapacitated, enables them to kill all three before going to get Anton. And after fighting with Anton (and Charlotte losing a hand in the process), Lizzie and Charlotte play for the hacked up Anton.
What Does It Mean?
Hahaha. I have no idea. No really. None. The trickiest thing about this movie is that it continues to run forward, and then sprint backwards to reveal things that we missed the first time around. My narrative timeline fixes that above, but just strolling through the events in chronological order. But is also tricky in that it runs deeply into the realms of cults and brainwashing, programming and deprogramming worlds. If you’d like a movie in this same sort of deprogramming space, you have to check the movie Faults out. Highly, highly recommend. But that is what we are dealing with here, the dangerous power of cults. Look at Lizzie, she is determined not to leave Bachoff, why? Because she believes that Anton loves her. She was buried deep in her Stockholm Syndrome, convinced that Anton had her best interests at heart. And Charlotte, originally the jealous, hateful revenge artist, is actually the one that is really looking out for Lizzie’s best interests. Even though her strategies and tactics are a little on the extreme side.
What’d You Think?
I absolutely loved the inside out way this movie worked. So much was hidden from us. We go from a jealous musician, determined to get her rightful place back in the Bachoff, to a full-on cult experience. To a brilliant revenge flick. But wow! It’s a movie that even gave me pause occasionally. The Fly sections were revolting! The Boxing Helena ending?!? GAH! And various middle bits to boot. But I loved the way this movie unveiled itself for us. The rewinding was clever. I don’t know, what did you think of it? Did you like it half as much as I did?
Edited by, CY