Hahahahaha. OK, word of warning. This movie is only for the stout of heart. This isn’t a movie that I would stop someone in the hallway at work and say – YOU KNOW WHAT BOB??!? YOU SHOULD WATCH PERFECT!!!! (I speak only in full caps in real life. It’s true. Ask in the comments, people who know me in real life will confirm this.) It got 1, count them all, 1 star on rottentomatoes. But yeah, this is a psychotropic frontal lobotomy of a movie. And yet, here I am, talking about it. Why? Well…because it’s trying to say something. And I’m really curious to figure out what it is that this train wreck is trying to say. So yeah, The Movie Perfect is a Psychotrauma Waiting to Happen…
But what is it? It’s a movie written and directed by Eddie Alcazar. Who I know nothing about. BUT, it is executive produced by Steven Soderbergh. That though, just makes me think Mr. Soderbergh is a closet psychopath. But that’s just me. It tells the story of a young man named – Vessel 13 (played by Garrett Wareing) – yeah. See, I can’t even get that out without laughing. But apparently Vessel 13 is in need of an intervention. He has done something he regrets and is afraid of himself. And so his mother (Abbie Cornish) and he decide he should head off to this state-of-the-art psychological counseling-esque facility. And the movie tells the story of his dark grapplings with his self. This is literally 100% of the movie, but it is the fleshing out of these details that will break your brain.
Normally I tell you guys to skip the trailer, and head straight to the movie. This time? Maybe you should just watch the trailer and skip the movie? You tell me:
OK – so watch, or skip, or do what you will – but I am now heading into spoiler material. If you don’t want the story spoiled, you should stop. But if you’d like to discuss the point of such a wild movie, keep on going.
The “Perfect” Movie Walkthrough
I’ve almost already given you the entirety of the walkthrough. There isn’t a ton more to tell. But I will walk it back for you quickly, so we can get to the – WHAT? discussion that we are desperately needing to jump to. The movie starts with Vessel 13 doing something horrible – which is, murdering his young girlfriend. He calls his mother, and she checks him into a hyper-modern therapy center in order to get him the help that he so desperately needs. But this isn’t a story about a kid hiding from the police and getting rehabilitated into someone that will never kill again. It’s about something else, something different. It’s actually about a kid who is realizing that he has a terrible primal mind, and it’s about the evil people running this facility as they try to “purify” him.
Let’s talk about this “purification” process. 13’s process towards purification starts with the first chunk of his skin and flesh (face to be more clear) he is asked to carve out and replaced with a silicone gel. After each replacement he feels temporarily better, but ultimately worse, which prods him on further down the road with replacement after replacement. Each one driving him further and further towards something different. Each step beating back this primal brain in the hopes of transcendence past this evil self. (Now are we seeing why I found this movie interesting in spite of it’s horrific traincrashness.)
So, step by step, 13 becomes more and more synthetic in his pursuit of perfection. But the underlying methods to launch 13 towards this perfection begins with fleeing the law. He isn’t paying for his crime against this woman who is now dead. His grappling with his sins of the past amounts to a bunch of shortcuts and synthetic body hacks. He isn’t actually working towards any sort of reform. Working the work would be his enlisting in AA-like group sessions, or intensive therapy filled with repetitive grinds of accountability and confronting his past. You know, actual work. That would be a movie telling the story of repentance, grace, and restitution. This story is actually about someone that is determined to cut in the line. This is someone trying to bio-engineer moral perfection by the scalloping of the flesh from his body.
The Movie Perfect is a Psychotrauma Waiting to Happen
As the story progresses we see that 13 is rapidly losing the battle to perfection, and is, instead, unleashing the evil within. We know this because his life is beginning to spiral the dustbin of the universe more and more the further along this path to synthetic redemption he goes.
We begin to see horrors of darkness the further he goes. Ashen gods masticating babies and other evil horrors. It is a story that juxtaposes the ultramodern with the primordial. We see this perfect facility of glass and trees. Of modern technology and refinement. And yet it is countered with splashes of ash, and soot splattered bodies that literally hearken back to demons and evil minions sacrificing to evil deities. These two realities tell the story of the struggle in his mind that he is unleashing through this cosmic cheat.
And ultimately we learn that 13 is actually the spawn of some sort of relationship between Dr. Price (yes, that is his name – and he is played by Maurice Compte) and Mother. Which is when things should have started to become rapidly more clear to the viewing audience. “Wait, WHAT?! I missed that bit!” Think about it – Dr. Price is researching synthetic perfection for those that are mired in trauma and unable to extract themselves. Needing a test subject he can do anything with, he has a child with Mother in exchange for some sort of services rendered. Remember in the beginning, Mother admitted to 13 that she also attended the therapy facility. So, it is pretty clear that 13 was bred for this moment specifically. Dr. Price is about to sacrifice (please, do I need to insert flashing traffic signals here for you people?!?) his son for his work. For the development of a synthetic moral restorative.
The Ending of the movie Perfect Explained
So, Dr. Price is sacrificing his own son in an effort to figure out a way to provide moral perfection to his clients and paying customers. Dr. Price jacked his son so full of synthetic slices that he ended up a moldy/shriveled orange. Need a reminder?
One thing the movie does really well is that it acknowledges humanity’s enormous depravity and need for intervention. But it also tells the story of man trying to find a weight loss pill to do an end around on the hard work of weight loss. This, but for sin. Dr. Price is coming up with a sin loss pill. All you need to do is insert chunks of synthetic flesh into one’s face, and voila, perfection. Price is utilizing Vessel 13 (an unholy number) to test paths he has never opened to anyone else. (Have there been 12 other attempts at this moral weight loss pill?) As Price holds his dying son on his lap, 13’s thoughts goes back to the girl he murdered and the only happy memories of her we have seen him conjure.
I would say that this movie is attempting to tell us the story of mankind and its attempt to build its own tower of Babel. You remember that Sunday School story? You know, that one particular Sunday school lesson with the Flannelgraph of the tower and the confused people at the bottom running into each other after God cursed man for his hubris with numerous languages across the planet. You see, man thought it could reach God if they were to build a tower to the sky. This too is a story of technological hubris and pride. Perfect is a story of man thinking he can cut corners on morality. It is man’s attempt at becoming God himself. But we see what happens when man attempts to become God. We shrivel up like a rotting orange. (In my searching for a Flannelgraph picture of the story of the Tower of Babel I found this awesome sermon – with a rockin’ Flannelgraph up throughout. Just random. It’s free, I’m not charging you extra for this bit.)
Final Thoughts on Perfect
I loved this movie, and I simultaneously hated it. I loved the idea of a modern Tower of Babel and the real life effects of our enormous hubris. But as far as entertainment goes, I disdained it. Definitely won’t be recommending this movie to anyone. Wow. Hahaha. But what did you guys think of it? I personally thought that The Movie Perfect is a Psychotrauma Waiting to Happen, yeah, I think I did.
If you are looking for something in this genre that is a little better done, and discusses similar issues might I recommend Z for Zachariah? I really loved the movie, We’ve Forgotten More Than We Ever Knew...and that sort of deals with these same topics and concepts? Or, better recommendation yet? Elizabeth Harvest. OK, if I give out more than three recommendations I’ll have to start charging you for them. And no one wants that. A bill collector coming to your door. Shotgun in hand. We don’t want that.
Edited by: CY