Adam Rifkin's high-concept tale of bad behavior in the age of surveillance is shot as though every moment were captured by hidden cameras, from videophones to dashboard-mounted police surveillance lenses.
Most, though not all, of Rifkin's characters cross paths at an upscale Los Angeles mall. That's where rich, bored high-school vixens Holly (Heather Hogan) and Sherri (Spencer Redford) run into teacher Mr. Krebbs (Jamie McShane) and his pregnant wife (Kimberly Quinn), and Sherri decides it would be fun to seduce him. Smarmy hound-dog Tony Gilbert (Hayes MacArthur) manages an upscale bed-and-bath store and has sex with employees in the storeroom. Undercover lovers Ben (Paul Schackman) and George (Chris Williams) have an awkward moment when George bumps into Ben and his family: wife Louise (Jennifer Fontaine), little daughter Megan (Bailee Madison), and their new baby, the reason Ben and Louise have just invested in a nanny-cam. Meanwhile, convenience-store clerk and aspiring rocker Willie (Giuseppe Andrews) and his unemployed buddy Carl (Miles Dougal) goof away the late shift, office outcast Marty (Ben Weber) suffers a constant stream of small humiliations, and "Candid Camera Killers" Ace and Ron (Rhys Coiro, Sebastian Feldman) remain at large even as their brutal crime spree is captured on tape.
Despite the gimmicky visual conceit (one previously exploited in films like MY LITTLE EYE and ALONE WITH HER), Rifkin's film is surprisingly compelling, if not up to dealing with the larger political issues it raises. LOOK opens with the alarming assertion that there are "an estimated 30 million surveillance cameras in the United States generating more than four billion hours of video every week… on any given day, the average American is captured approximately 200 times," a statement whose alarming political implications are hard to parse during a lengthy opening sequence in which the nearly naked Sherri and Holly cavort lewdly in a store dressing room. leave a comment --Maitland McDonagh