Edit ModuleEdit ModuleShow Tags
Edit ModuleShow Tags

The 400-Word Review: The Perfection

Netflix's troubling new thriller stars Allison Williams and Logan Browning.

Photo courtesy Netflix

The Perfection” is a nasty little movie, and I mean that in the best way possible.

(Yes, “nasty little” is a compliment. In this context, anyway.)

A tight horror picture from “Don Hemingway” director Richard Shepard, “The Perfection” is brutal and fearless, utterly unconcerned with how upsetting it can be. And yes, there’s something in here to upset just about everyone; a blanket trigger warning is in order, from those with garden-variety fears (my entomophobia was a disadvantage while watching this one) to more serious traumas (truthfully, some abuse survivors should be forewarned to stay away).

For those who like their scares brash and base, though, “The Perfection” is a small wonder. After the death of her long-ailing mother, former cello prodigy Charlotte (Allison Williams) seeks to reconnect with her old tutors, Anton (Steven Weber) and Paloma (Alaina Huffman). They run an exclusive, world-renowned conservatory, for which they travel the world in search of preteen pupils.

Her mother’s illness pulled Charlotte out of the program; now, Anton and Paloma have a new golden child, a soulful cellist named Lizzie (Logan Browning). Charlotte tracks all three down in Shanghai, at the conclusion of another global talent search; she and Lizzie express mutual admiration, which quickly turns from professional to intimate. After the sparks (and the clothes) fly, the pair agree to go on a retreat into the countryside for a few weeks.

Their vacation doesn’t go well.

In many ways, Williams is a limited performer; thankfully, she has an extraordinary knack for choosing projects that play exactly to her strengths. “Get Out” was just such a choice; “The Perfection” is another, allowing her to play broken and manipulative as sides of a coin. Browning is captivating; the “Dear White People” star proves her feature-length chops with aplomb, stealing the spotlight away from Williams at every turn.

“The Perfection” is not the kind of movie you want to scrutinize too much; it’s far more concerned with presenting unexpected twists than it is with justifying them. (The script, by Shepard and co-writers Nicole Snyder and Eric C. Charmelo, is mediocre.) The slick direction more than carries “The Perfection” out of ho-hum thriller territory; the tension is absolute and continuous.

It’s risky, and it will undoubtedly trouble some viewers. That, however, is refreshing in a Netflix release; the streaming giant is much more inclined to play things safe. “The Perfection” is anything but safe.

My Rating: 8/10

“The Perfection” begins streaming on Netflix on Friday, May 24.

Edit ModuleShow Tags
Edit Module

Edit Module Edit ModuleShow TagsEdit ModuleShow Tags
Edit ModuleShow Tags Edit Module
Edit ModuleShow Tags

The Latest

After Dark Hall of Fame: Primanti Bros.

The beloved bar-and-restaurant chain has become a Pittsburgh emblem. It's the 10th inductee in the After Dark Hall of Fame.

Do You Want to Pay More Taxes to Improve Parks?

The Pittsburgh Parks Conservancy hopes to restore the city’s parks to their former glory, but they may need a tax increase to do so.

The Latest Restaurant and Bar Openings in Pittsburgh

We say hello to a new concept from Justin Severino, a summer-long dance pop-up and a new spot for cocktails.

PM on KD: Sean Collier Guest Hosts for the Day

PM associate editor Sean Collier appeared on KDKA's Pittsburgh Today Live as a guest host to fill in for Heather Abraham. He shared some details about our latest special edition: City Guide.

Book a Band for a Different Kind of Wedding Sound

For many couples, family and tradition means everything. Having a band that helps reflect those can be a great way to pay tribute to your heritage, while getting your guests on the dance floor.

Recommended Pittsburgh Eating: 4 Recent Dishes I Loved

PM Dining Critic Hal B. Klein says corned beef inside an import business, Sichuan smashed eggplants, smoked chicken wings and a cornbread dessert have his attention.

How to Celebrate the Moon Landing Anniversary in Pittsburgh

To celebrate Apollo 11’s golden anniversary, several local events are set to take place, from film screenings to new exhibits and more.

5 Pittsburgh Vintage Homes Stores You'll Want to Explore

PM Editoral Intern Ellie Pesetsky shares some of her favorite up-cycled furniture and home decor stores in and around Pittsburgh.

Eleven Couples to be Married after Love at First Bite

Wedding bells will be chiming for multiple couples this weekend … and it’s taking place at Primanti Bros. in the Strip District.

Pop Culture Pop Up Bars Are Here to Stay

Nintendo-themed Level Up is in Market Square for another week, but if you miss it, you can catch the Pokémon-themed bar coming this fall.

How Scary is the New Steel Curtain Coaster at Kennywood?

The ride claims records for the world’s tallest looping coaster and tallest inversion; it also has more inversions than any coaster in North America. We rode it this morning. Here's what we have to say.

The 400-Word Review: Point Blank

Netflix's action thriller is forgettable, but serves well as a quick throwback.

Pittsburgh Marks the First Stop of the New Whiskey Rebellion Trail

Think the story of American whiskey begins in Kentucky? Think again.

Pirates’ Possibilities Include Contention in Surprising Season’s Second Half

It hasn’t gone according to the original script, but the Pirates have found a way to stay relevant — and may yet be capable of finishing what they started.

The 400-Word Review: Stuber

There are laughs in the new buddy comedy, but they're dragged down by bad decisions.