I recently moved to Los Angeles and had the unique opportunity of attending an advanced screening for "Look.". After the film, I had the pleasure of speaking with writer/director Adam Rifkin. He was humble and kind to me, even though I was simply an admirer of his film. We spoke for a good thirty minutes, and I felt it was appropriate and necessary to share my sincere thoughts on the film.
If it has ever bothered you that our daily existence on modern Earth is documented by security cameras at nearly second, then "Look" will offer a alarming glance into the lives of people going about their days without the slightest idea that they are being caught on tape. Shot entirely from the perspective of security cameras, "Look" offers a disturbing and at times hysterical view into the lives of ordinary individuals that are hurled into the path of extraordinary circumstances. It is difficult without hyperbole to give compliment to the innovative film-making that is "Look" by writer/director Adam Rifkin. From the shocking opening sequence, to the eloquent concluding montage, the security camera footage is seamlessly blended together into an engaging film. The dialogue is so natural and candid that you often forget you are watching actors execute the fictional story. The sharp screenplay was complimented by flawless and daring performances from the cast in the film. Every actor was successful at being true to the circumstances they were thrust into, and delivered their lines in a manner which seemed to disregard the presence of cameras in the production. "Look" is a breath of fresh air in the sense that you can go to the theatre and witness something entirely original, and be engaged from start to finish. One gets the sense that there is not an extraneous second in all of the footage; hence boredom is not likely while watching the film. Perhaps the most impressive attribute of the film is the tasteful blend of comedy and nail biting drama. It is refreshing to go to the movies and be able to laugh and cry (within the same film) and leave with the sensation that you have learned something.
After watching the film, one is left with the sensation that the abundant presence of security cameras today is downright disturbing. Aside from that aspect of the picture, the stories of the characters are enough to hold the audience's attention (if not hit close to home) from start to finish. The story centers on a confused husband, a gas station attendant, a high school teacher being relentlessly seduced by one of his students, a hedonistic department store manager, and an office worker who is being tormented by his coworkers. The fates of the characters are interconnected in a mystifying way, and only the audience has knowledge of this mysterious link. It is difficult to give description of the plot because it gives so much away that needs to be experienced and not simply described. I hope that my enthusiasm is enough to convince the reader that the plot and character dynamics are about as close to authentic and original as one can hope for in a movie. I simply don't want to give anything away.
"Look" is one of those rare films where you will leave the theatre having been simultaneously entertained, shocked, appalled, and enlightened. What more could one hope for out of a movie-going experience? There were times during the film that evoked a feeling of an eerie and hollow terror; an awesome compliment to the director who managed to take that type of desolation and marry it so effortlessly with comedy. There is no school that can teach a director to do that. It comes from experience. It comes from brushing up close and personal with the harsh realities of a universe that can make you laugh wild in one moment and the next moment take from you everything that you hold dear. That is the law of the land, and the director unquestionably knows this universal decree. Additionally, the interconnectedness of man is illuminated through the relationships of the characters. They are all related, and none of them know just how. It is this dynamic of the film that sends those shivers up your spine, and is the reason that many of us movie lovers still go to the theatre. Hence, the film exists on many levels as a very sophisticated and existential look into the nature of our day to day lives, and what happens when ordinary people must face intense conflict. At the same time, you can lower your high brow, and expect to laugh and have a good time. I could not be more thrilled about this film. What a treat to see that someone is actually straying from the Hollywood norm and doing something entirely innovative and engaging. It is proof that there is still magic in the movies, and I take my hat off to writer/director Adam Rifkin. Do yourself a favor and see this movie.