Stop, Look, Listen…
Look, written and directed by Adam Rifkin. Released by Vitagraph Films. Opens Dec. 14, Nuart, West Los Angeles.
While there is clearly much to admire about Adam Rifkin’s use of surveillance camera point-of-view for the entirety of his new film Look, it is also essential to note that his script acknowledges both the intrusiveness and usefulness of America’s 30 million public video cameras.
With unceasingly cleverness, Rifkin and director of photography Ron Forsythe find countless ways to visually depict this series of interlocking stories. The footage is black and white or color. It is clear or grainy, with or without time-location stamps. We vicariously follow the narrative from admittedly fictive but engaging sources ranging from overhead newscopter cameras, to fixed position cameras in a mall, dressing room, home, restaurant, office building and, significant to the end of the story, the camera within a mobile phone.
Rifkin slowly builds his tale of multiple storylines as an underage Lolita tempts her decent but wavering high school teacher. A pair of killers frequent a convenience store where the clerk is being lured back by his ex-girlfriend. A lawyer hides his homosexual affair from his wife. A nerdy office worker is taunted and preyed upon by a co-worker to the point of mania. These and other plot strands, conjoined by the end of Look, take on an undeniable power and the editing rhythms of the work speed up accordingly as well. Rifkin ably upsets us because the acts of violence provide a heightened realness for us, whether it is a woman grabbed at gunpoint at an ATM or the image of two cars smashing headlong into each during a high-speed chase, as viewed from a helicopter cam.
The cast of generally unrecognizable actors—with the exception of Entourage’s Rhys Coiro as one of the killers—is strong and without flaw. Rifkin deserves major kudos for not just coming up with a nifty visual premise–inspired by his receiving a moving violation by a surveillance camera—but creating a work that keeps piling irony upon irony and letting us mull over where to stop the proliferation of cameras in the public arena. Much is made of Paul Haggis’ much-lauded Crash, but for those interested in edgier fare that is not only more plausible but more viscerally and visually engaging, Look is the word.
For more information, visit www.look-themovie.com