Hi, everyone. "Moriarty" here with some Rumblings From The Lab...
I’m not sure I totally buy the backstory on how this guy got a chance to see this film... but then again, the AFI campus presents plenty of opportunities for sneakiness for an industrious film geek. Whatever the case, this guy really dug the movie, and I’ve gotta say... the premise intrigues me. Check it out:
Hey guys. Luca here from California by way of Albuquerque. Yeah, I’m a movie geek going to AFI out here, and I’ll probably get expelled for admitting this, but tonight I was attending a seminar at the school about costume design when I noticed a bunch of signs indicating a private screening up at the Mark Goodson theater. Bored with the seminar, I made my way up and noticed none other than CABIN FEVER’s Deputy Winston milling about. And then I overhear (okay, I asked), that this is a private cast and crew screening of Adam Rifkin’s new film, LOOK.
Now I don’t know about you, but in my book, DETROIT ROCK CITY is one of the best fucking movies of all time. And I even hate KISS. So when I hear that this is a new Adam Rifkin film, I get all excited. And then I hear Giuseppe is in it. So, I’m even more excited, and when no one’s looking, I sneak my ass in the doors, grab a seat and hope no one noticed. They didn’t. Too busy patting each other on the back about the great job they all did on the film.
Now you gotta realize—I’m sitting there and all I know is that this movie is called LOOK. I never heard of it. Hell, I don’t even know if Adam Rifkin has even directed a film since DETROIT ROCK CITY. So I’m wishing I had some weed to get in the mood, cuz if this guy made DRC, this has gotta be another “trip”, if you know what I mean. Well, it is – but not the kind I expected. Because the minute the flick started, I knew I was in for something completely unlike DETROIT ROCK CITY.
Guys—imagine if Adam Rifkin made CRASH and you would get LOOK. Simply put – IT’S FUCKING AMAZING. Withing seconds, I was already flipped out. Just black— and an opening title stating the fact that every day, Americans are caught unaware by over 170 surveillance cameras of all shapes and sizes. Hmmm.. That made me think of moments in my life I would not have wanted caught on film. And then the movie begins—a video surveillance camera inside a dressing room at a department store as a young hottie gets in, and yes, fellas, undresses, stares at herself, plays with her boobs and ass, and then lets in her best friend and begins to talk about the latest LA teen trend – asshole bleaching.
Then the girls steal some clothes and the film continues—with yet another scene shot from a surveillance camera. And then I realize—THE ENTIRE FILM IS SHOT FROM THE POV OF VARIOUS VIDEO MONITORS! Is this fucking brilliant or what? Department store monitors, ATM machine cameras, security cameras in a High School, a police station, a restaurant, a nanny-cam, a 7-11 camera… The whole film is a “verite” collection of the many different lives of many different people as seen from the cut together footage of various surveillance cameras. Just like TRAFIIC, just like CRASH, the lives of these people collide in surprising ways—but unlike those films, this film is played (and played to perfection) as a documentary. Were it not for the inclusion of Giuseppe Andrews, there was no other recognizable face and Rifkin had me buying that this was all REAL- until the end credits when the names of the actors came up. BRAVO, dude. You had me.
But even though this is “fake” reality, it is done with such finesse, such an awareness of the human condition, I have to honestly say, I couldn’t believe this was made by the same guy that made DETROIT ROCK CITY! This film has some really, really funny moments a la DRC, but on the whole, this is sobering stuff. There is a white middle aged WASP lawyer with a wife and child who we catch having a gay affair with his black colleague… a loser at work who we constantly see being the butt of the cruel (but funny) practical jokes of his co-workers... a despicable yet hilarious coke sniffing horndog at a Macy’s type department store who is screwing all of his female employees… Two CLERKS type slackers (one of which is Giuseppe) at a convenience store who pass the night yucking it up… and the 16 year old hottie of the opening scene who makes it her “project” to seduce her “married with a pregnant wife” English teacher.
Woven throughout these scenarios are two killers who we see killing a cop on a dashboard cop cam (the only moment that seemed staged) and then coming into close proximity with all the other players. We are always kept on edge wondering just how these lives will interconnect, and where these lives are going. It’s the ultimate reality show, the TRUMAN SHOW for real, and it makes you realize just how goddamned nosy we as a society are about everybody else’s business.
You also realize just how full of shit everybody can be, as we often see scenes rewound and played back from the flip perspective of the other side of a conversation- particularly in an amazing sequence where we first see the teen Lolita and her girlfriend flirting with the English teacher and another teacher— and then we see the after conversations of both sides. The older teacher confirms suspicions that, yes, teachers do think about screwing their students, and the girls confirm that yes, they think about screwing their teachers. Yet both conversations contradict the “propriety” of the initial encounter. Who is right and who is wrong? Nobody and everybody.
And that seems to be the gist of Rifkin’s film (which he also wrote). Everybody is a loser and everybody is a hero. But most importantly, everybody has secrets, and everybody has FLAWS, and all it takes is a moment, a brief 30 second detour from morality (or society’s perception of morality) and if that 30 second detour is caught on tape—BAM! You’re dead. For yes, after the first two thirds of amusing voyeurism, the final act turns dark and chilling, the consequences of all the lies and bullshit, the walks along the edge fully crossing over the lines. It’s haunting, and it hits you like a sucker punch, and if I say anything more, I will spoil the endings, and I don’t want to do that, for this is a film that simply must be seen. That must be discovered.
I dug CRASH, but this just had more resonance, for as I left the theater, wondering where and when this would ever play again as I heard there was no distributor though I bet someone like FOX Searchlight or Focus (if they are smart) will grab this up – al I could think was – FUCK- How much of my life has been caught on tape that I have no clue of. Somewhere, is there a video of me lifting that Tool CD I wanted but had no money to buy that week…? Is my argument with my girlfriend back in a New Mexico Wal-Mart on tape…? (I’m sorry I hit you, babe. I’ll never say it enough…) That time I got drunk and ran naked in a fricking thunderstorm on the beach in Venice…(Yeah, I’m an idiot) Is my private life being cut into a movie like LOOK by somebody somewhere, pieced together from footage from the 170 cameras that I am caught on everyday? What would that movie be like? Would I be ashamed? Proud?
Damn you, Rifkin, for putting those thoughts into my head. I just wanted to rock and roll all night and party everyday again with you. Instead, you made me think and think hard. You amused me and then you sucker punched me. And if anyone tells you this is far fetched, just tell them glance around at the world we live in. A world where the government is becoming George Orwell’s Big Brother and blaming it all on Al Queda. Rifkin – Your film is a masterpiece. I mean it. And it couldn’t be more timely. I’m sure you’ve got me sneaking into your show on tape—You had guys with cameras taping your every move tonight. (For LOOK 2 perhaps? I’m so there….) Let’s hope this one gets major play – It is technically ingenious (a gimmick that, for once, actually works and doesn’t get played out), thematically potent, entertaining, provoking, has a killer cameo from John Landis, some amazing tunes, believe it or not, from Giuseppe Andrews in collaboration with BT… and is a rare film that I just can’t get out of my head. Considering I started my evening at a costume design seminar and now am writing you about a movie I had no clue even existed, just because I had to shout about it to somebody—I’d say it’s (yeah, you knew this was coming) more than worth a LOOK. And by the way, guys, what would a movie of YOUR private moments be like? Adam Rifkin knows…