The Perfection is a nasty little exploitation film in in black-tie attire.
Directed by Richard Shephard and co-written by Shephard, Eric Charmelo, and Nicole Snyder, the film centres around two elite cellists, both trained at the same strict and insular music academy. One, Lizzie, is a cello celebrity; the other, Charlotte, is a troubled former prodigy who resurfaces after a ten-year absence.
When the two finally meet (dressed to the nines at a swanky recital in Shanghai), there’s instant chemistry; let’s just say, they make beautiful music together.
The set-up makes one expect an All About Eve-esque catfight; instead, what follows plays more like a mix of Suspiria and Wild Things.
To reveal more would spoil the fun. Let’s just say there’s plenty of clever twists, decent gore, and a brutally uncomfortable sequence on a public bus, all anchored by a refreshing depiction of two women in a relationship that is…complicated, to say the least.
The film is also artfully shot, boasting some stunning views of remote Chinese mountains, glittering skyscrapers, and the unnervingly urbane interiors of the cultish Bachoff academy. The movie’s high-brow/low-brow dichotomy is bolstered by an eclectic soundtrack that mixes elegant classical music with rap and rock, concluding with a well-placed Hole cover.
The Perfection’s shocks won’t be for everyone, and the crass deployment of heavy themes may have faltered in the hands of less talented actresses. Guileless one moment and vicious the next, Allison Williams nails every note of Charlotte’s multifaceted personality, and Logan Browning totally sells the extremes that Lizzie is put through. Both of them keep you guessing up until the strangely-inspirational final scene.
Title: The Perfection
Director: Richard Shephard
Screenwriter: Richard Shephard, Eric Charmelo, Nicole Snyder