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The Perfection 2019 ***

A savvy pick-up from Netflix, The Perfection is a tricky thriller from director Richard Shepard; without giving any of the plot twists away, The Perfection starts out like an innocuous tale of music-school rivalry and then takes the kind of very dark twists that should cause teenagers to flock to post on social media. As a regular director on Lena Dunham’s Girls, Shepard is hardly an unknown quantity, but his film work includes The Matador and Dom Hemingway, two excellent examples of how a big stars’s fame (Pierce Brosnan and Jude Law respectively) can be entertainingly subverted to dramatic effect. Here, it’s genre conventions which get bent; Charlotte (Allison Williams) and Lizzie (Logan Browning) are attending the same music school, and meet up again in Shanghai, where they begin a sexual relationship. But there’s a plague of sorts going around, and a bus journey leads to violence and trauma. The Perfection’s big mid-way twist doesn’t quite fit the action in the second half of the film, and the story elements don’t gel, and yet it’s still reasonably fun to take the journey, even if the final revelations will cause some eye-rolling. Williams and Browning both make a big impression, but it’s the impish wit of Shepard that makes The Perfection worth watching.


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  1. Like most modern films, it just doesn’t know when to just calm down and say ‘enough’, instead taking things/twists just a step or two too far. Less is sometimes more.

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