Archive for May, 2009

Look (2007)

Posted: May 7, 2009 in Movies



The Review:

There is not much to like in Adam Rifkin’s Look, told through the gimmicky perspective of security, bank, cop, nanny and other kinds of hidden cameras. It is not quite Big Brother but neither is it little sister, just a queasy tale of randomly intersecting bad lives thinking they are getting away with it all. Rifkin slices out the 98 percent caught on tape doing nothing wrong, content to present the 2 percent– a Lolita searching for prey, the couplings of a randy store manager, a gay tryst, the convenience store slackers, a child stalker, the murderers and serial criminals—as the truth. He leaves God on the cutting room floor. The movie’s only grace notes are the tender revelations of a nanny cam. The good conscious is lost in the muffle of end reel sound and the fast forward button. Everything is evidence for the guilty and the half guilty—the tape the detective throws the tape across the table when he catches the lie. Its justice takes everybody down.

After 45 minutes, I was resenting Rifkin gluing me to the voyeur’s chairs. The revelations were small and cramp. There was no big point or sustaining point of view, no commentary on the lack of privacy in a nation crazy for reality television—just the camera and the idiots in front of it. The grainy, black and white, muted color, edge bending, occasionally sharp and clear high definition camerawork, all caught in high fidelity sound that never covered the lie, erects a wall that keeps out the compassion and the insight. Look is drama bled down to dull observation. When the truth comes, some get theirs and some do not. Whether it comes in a crash, a divorce or prison cell, it does not matter. I stopped caring a long time ago.

Somewhere in the footage of captured everyday lives, there is a great drama or documentary waiting to be cut and captioned. Look gets the idea but never quite gets the truth. Capture the good and the bad, fine tune the point of view, give it compassion and hate, despair and hope all caught in the man lens that pretends to be God and there might be great art hidden in the grainy soft focus and battered soundtrack of our humanity. Look needs a little more of the real truth for me to be enraptured. Capture that and capture me with the magic of the lens.

The Credits:

Written and directed by Adam Rifkin; director of photography, Ron Forsythe; edited by Martin Apelbaum; music by B T; produced by Brad Wyman and Barry Schuler; released by Vitagraph Films. At Angelika Film Center, Mercer and Houston Streets, Greenwich Village. Running time: 1 hour 42 minutes.

WITH: Hayes MacArthur (Tony Gilbert), Giuseppe Andrews (Willie), Spencer Redford (Sherri Van Haften), Rhys Coiro (Ace), Heather Hogan (Holly), Jennifer Fontaine (Louise), Ben Weber (Marty), Paul Shackman (Ben), Chris Williams (George Higgins) and Jamie McShane (Barry Krebbs).

Copyright 2009 by Jonathan Moya