LOOK

R
Reviews

You may never even think about picking your nose on a deserted elevator after seeing Look. This fiendishly clever black comedy by Adam Rifkin is filmed entirely from the point of view of surveillance cameras which, he posits, capture all of our individual, unaware actions a minimum of 170 times a day.

Rifkin skillfully interweaves plotlines in a way that makes this currently much overused device seem perkily adroit rather than tiresome. His basic far-reaching thesis, which encompasses the most intimate conversations as well as a high-speed car chase and a robot search for a bomb aboard a bus, allows the film incredible scope.

Rifkin starts things off in hilariously eye-opening fashion, with two pubescent Lolitas stripping off in a mall dressing room and then laughingly simulating lesbian sex with each other. One of them (Spencer Redford) has serious, naughty designs on her teacher, but she is but one of a host of horny, obsessed characters that include an inexhaustibly randy store manager (Hayes MacArthur), the various female employees he seduces in the stockroom, and a “happily married” lawyer (Paul Schackman) who is having a clandestine, accurately observed gay affair with a fellow attorney (Chris Williams).

Heavier subplots involving a pair of “Candid Camera” serial killers and a pedophile only add to this wildly paranoiac stew. Rifkin’s dialogue is sometimes vulgarly side-splitting, but always true to the nature of his characters, from a teen convenience-store clerk/wannabe-rock star (Giuseppe Andrews) to a lascivious high-school teacher.

The crisp sound design, Martin Apelbaum’s terrific editing and Ron Forsythe’s coolly elegant camerawork must be cited. After the claustrophobic overuse of gratuitous close-ups in recent films—particularly Kenneth Branagh’s inept Sleuth—it’s downright refreshing to see a film done largely in long-shot, and it’s amazing how expressive and beautifully sustained the performances are under these circumstances. Rifkin’s entire cast—apart from a pair of over-intense investigative cops—emote brilliantly, especially Redford, who incarnates the full horror of high-school narcissism in her big rape confessional scene.