Looker

"Grim"

Looker Review


You gotta love technology. Without technology and the naturally amoral things it does, we'd have no villains in the movies. I mean what's more frightening than extreme rationality? Clones? Oh my! Circuit boards and vacuum tubes? Yikes! According to Michael Crichton's early flick Looker, technology -- in particular, television -- holds us fast in its undeniable sway and there is very little we can do to escape its cold grasp. I guess that's the point in Looker, though it's still a bit unclear.

Albert Finney is a popular plastic surgeon and business is great. Thing is, some of his models start turning up dead and, naturally, there's a conspiracy afoot. One that involves digitized people, high-tech guns (the Lookers of the title or Light Ocular Oriented Kinetic Energetic Responsers), and big business. Susan Dey play Cindy (and doffs every stitch of clothing), a model who wants perfection to get a modeling contract with the ominous sounding Digital Matrix. James Coburn plays the tycoon behind Digital Matrix and like all tycoons he's thoroughly bad.

As you can imagine there are too many things going on here and the film suffers from it. Crichton goes ballistic on everything from cosmetic surgery to television to corporate greed to Western ideals of beauty and he never really finds enough focus to make any of his assaults really hammer home. Who doesn't think that too much plastic surgery is a bad thing? Who doesn't agree that power corrupts? And attacking television commercials? That's about as obvious as you can get. But what really cripples Looker is the fact that the plot is essentially a routine thriller recycled from the '40s. This is just pulp stuff. And not even first-class pulp stuff at that.

It's a good thing Looker looks so good. Cinematographer Paul Lohmann (a Mel Brooks vet) gives the film a very slick glow and production designer Dean Edward Mitzner knows how to capture high-tech (he would move on to Tron next.) Barry de Vorzon's electro score is also pretty cool.

Crichton has certainly made a name for himself as an author. While his books tend to run the gamut from interesting but badly written to dull but quasi-literary, his films have almost all been relegated to Saturday afternoon cable. That's a shame. While Crichton's screenwriting skills are certainly shabby, as a director he's got a good eye for composition, his films are for the most part exciting, and he's even able to pull some engaging performances from his actors. I mean Coma, Runaway, and Westworld pretty much rocked when I was 10 and they are still great fun today. I doubt people will be saying the same thing about his most recent novels 20 years from now.



Looker

Facts and Figures

Run time: 93 mins

In Theaters: Friday 30th October 1981

Distributed by: Warner Home Video

Reviews

Contactmusic.com: 2 / 5

Rotten Tomatoes: 29%
Fresh: 5 Rotten: 12

IMDB: 6.1 / 10

Cast & Crew

Producer: Howard Jeffrey

Starring: as Dr. Larry Roberts, as John Reston, as Cindy Fairmont, as Jennifer Long, Estelle Omens as Wife

Contactmusic


Links



Advertisement

New Movies

Trumbo Movie Review

Trumbo Movie Review

An entertaining film about sobering true events, this is the story of notorious screenwriter Dalton...

Goosebumps Movie Review

Goosebumps Movie Review

Mixing the action, comedy and horror from novelist R.L. Stein's books into a family-friendly package,...

Dad's Army Movie Review

Dad's Army Movie Review

The beloved 1970s British sit-com gets the big screen treatment, although there's been very little...

Spotlight Movie Review

Spotlight Movie Review

This film demonstrates that you don't need guns to make an exciting thriller. Based on...

13 Hours: The Secret Soldiers of Benghazi Movie Review

13 Hours: The Secret Soldiers of Benghazi Movie Review

Not the subtlest director working in Hollywood, Michael Bay brings his surging machismo to this...

Dirty Grandpa Movie Review

Dirty Grandpa Movie Review

There's nothing clever about this deliberately rude and vulgar comedy, but certain audiences will find...

The Big Short Movie Review

The Big Short Movie Review

Smart and snappy, this comedy is one of the scariest films of the year, using...

Advertisement
The 5th Wave Movie Review

The 5th Wave Movie Review

Also based on the first in a trilogy of post-apocalyptic teen novels, this thriller feels...

Ride Along 2 Movie Review

Ride Along 2 Movie Review

Ice Cube and Kevin Hart reteam for a sequel no one really asked for, following...

Room Movie Review

Room Movie Review

One of the most extraordinary films of the year, this drama cleverly weaves in events...

Creed Movie Review

Creed Movie Review

While this film is basically Rocky VII, it's also much more than that, and perhaps...

A Perfect Day Movie Review

A Perfect Day Movie Review

An irreverent comedy in the style of the original M.A.S.H., this wartime romp takes an...

Partisan Movie Review

Partisan Movie Review

With his feature debut, young Australian filmmaker Ariel Kleiman tells a creepy story about a...

The Revenant Movie Review

The Revenant Movie Review

A wrenching saga of survival and revenge, Alejandro G. Inarritu's new epic is just as...

The Hateful Eight Movie Review

The Hateful Eight Movie Review

Quentin Tarantino is a filmmaker who simply can't be ignored, especially when he lobs a...

Advertisement
Artists
Actors
    Filmmakers
      Artists
      Bands
        Musicians
          Artists
          Celebrities
             
              Artists
              Interviews
                musicians & bands in the news
                  actors & filmmakers in the news
                    celebrities in the news

                      Go Back in Time using our News archive to see what happened on a particular day in the past.