Look

"Weak"

Look Review


The voyeuristic Look begins with statistical information that's perfect for our YouTube world: More than four billion hours of surveillance video are generated every week in the U.S., from roughly 30 million cameras -- and the average American is captured around 200 times a day. Those overwhelming numbers then segue into a film told entirely from surveillance footage. Every scene, every shot.

Unorthodox? Sure. Trailblazing? Nah. Look feels both cool and gimmicky, but has a fairly traditional approach to telling multiple stories, jumping back and forth between teenage sexpots, illicit affairs, and in-home spying. The movie should be a peeping tom's wet dream... if only the material were real.

But it's not, and the movie loses power simply by being fictional. With any subpar performance (and there are several) or false-sounding dialogue, the fly-on-the-wall effect falters. Instead of feeling privy to secrets we shouldn't know, the audience witnesses a typical movie storyline, just told with non-traditional camera angles.

It is fun, however, to have more knowledge than the film's characters, and writer-director Adam Rifkin realizes that power and delivers it often. You're not just some department store customer seeing typical, ordinary stuff. Instead, you watch the clandestine store cameras catch the floor manager grabbing every employee's ass. It's a cheap God complex, but a God complex nonetheless.

In Look's press material, Rifkin (Detroit Rock City, writer of Mousehunt and Small Soldiers) and his team pose a political and philosophical question: In the post-9/11 world -- that standby phrase is getting old -- when should security trump privacy? Oddly, that stance doesn't surface in the film. The pressing question I found was: Why do people act like morons? Doesn't that jerk realize he should be discreet when screwing girls in the stockroom? Don't those sociopaths know they'll get caught kidnapping that woman?

I'm sure creating the script was a masterpiece of problem-solving, forcing all action to take place in public or semi-public settings. But with so many scenarios, interior and exterior, the thrill diminishes and we forget the source of the material. I suppose that could signify we are being watched everywhere, at all times, but it softens the tension and immediacy the film could have had.

Rifkin scores points for resolving some plotlines and leaving others (including the most disturbing one) wide open for disaster. His most gratuitous story, a simplistic femme fatale tale, has a strong final punch, with video becoming a part of the action, saving some and hurting many. The camera never does blink, really.

For the lack of reality that troubles Look, two issues make it difficult to suspend disbelief. First, the audio recording of these surveillance tapes is relatively excellent. That's a problem since we've seen so much hidden camera coverage over the years, and probably expect something a little rougher (or no audio at all). Second, and this is a big one, the film's point of view is never established. You could chalk it up to an objective source, but there are instances in which footage is rewound and zipped through, so there's clearly someone at the controls. Who?

Francis Coppola examined the power and destruction of surveillance in The Conversation and Mike Figgis played with multiple cameras in Time Code -- Look has the DNA of those films, but isn't as good as either. There are moments of titillation and suspense, but ultimately the movie is heavy on concept, not content.

Cleanup on aisle five.



Look

Facts and Figures

Run time: 98 mins

In Theaters: Saturday 6th September 2008

Box Office Worldwide: $16.1 thousand

Distributed by: Liberated Artists

Production compaines: Capture Film Internatrional, Meteor Film Productions

Reviews

Contactmusic.com: 2.5 / 5

Rotten Tomatoes: 60%
Fresh: 21 Rotten: 14

IMDB: 6.6 / 10

Cast & Crew

Director:

Producer: Barry Schuler,

Starring: as Berry Krebbs, Spencer Redford as Sherri Van Haften, Sebastian Feldman as Ron, as Tony Gilbert, Nichelle Hines as Lydia, as Marty, Jackie Geary as Paige


Contactmusic


Links



Advertisement

New Movies

Mission: Impossible - Rogue Nation Movie Review

Mission: Impossible - Rogue Nation Movie Review

Writer-director Christopher McQuarrie brings a dark and gritty tone to this larger-than-life franchise. Along with...

Beyond the Reach Movie Review

Beyond the Reach Movie Review

With a spectacular setting and two solid actors on-screen, this thriller builds enough solid suspense...

Cub Movie Review

Cub Movie Review

At a time when horror movies seem to only want to make the audience jump,...

Inside Out Movie Review

Inside Out Movie Review

Those bright sparks at Pixar have done it again, taking a fiercely original approach to...

Advertisement
Southpaw Movie Review

Southpaw Movie Review

Slick direction and meaty performances may be enough for some viewers, but this boxing drama's...

Eden Movie Review

Eden Movie Review

Loose and impressionistic, this beautifully shot film traces the career of a DJ who pioneered...

The Gallows Movie Review

The Gallows Movie Review

Without a single moment of originality, this found-footage horror movie really deserves to be the...

Self/Less Movie Review

Self/Less Movie Review

An intriguing premise keeps the audience gripped for about 20 minutes before the movie runs...

Advertisement