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As a fascinating reminder that Big Brother really, truly is watching our every move, Look is a clever blend of intertwined fictional tales, shot documentary-style through the eyes of a variety of surveillance cameras.


As we are told in the opening credits, the average American is captured on surveillance cameras more than 200 times every day. With that sobering thought in mind, Look begins with two sexy, mostly nude 16-year-old girls romping around in a department store dressing room. That titillating start is followed by a series of vignettes that follow the girls, their teacher and his wife that they meet later in the store, and an assortment of eventually interconnected characters (think Crash but as seen through the lenses of different cameras) on a journey that includes seduction, robbery, murder, child abduction, and even a bit of rekindled romance. Every frame is identified by a time/date/place camera indicator, serving to remind us that if we are inclined to pull off one of the crimes (and misdemeanors) chronicled in the flick, we'd better do it wearing a mask--or at least a face-covering blue hat, like the shopping mall child abductor sports. Ironies abound, and by the time Look shuts off its relentless scrutiny, you'll be left with an overriding feeling of personal invasion and a sort of sadness for humanity as a whole. There's a whole lot of stuff people are doing that we really don't want to know about!


Judging the acting in a film that is shot via security cameras is a strange process. The conceit of Look is that we are looking at real people being observed one step removed from live--and it works beautifully. So successful are the visuals that it becomes hard to separate the actors from the people that they play, which is a real testament to the performances of everyone in the talented (if not particularly famous) ensemble. Still, some standouts in the cast are obvious. Spencer Radford stands out with both her performance and her gorgeous body, as the 16-year-old Lolita bent on seducing her high school teacher; and Jamie McShane is equally impressive as the teacher who repeatedly fends off her advances while thinking of his eight-months-pregnant wife. Perhaps the most recognizable face in the cast is that of Rhys Coiro, whose roles on Entourage and 24 have made him instantly recognizable. As one half of a brutal pair of killers, he gives a glowering, quietly menacing performance.


Adam Rifkin both wrote and directed Look, which makes it surprising that it is not a comedy. The mastermind behind Mousehunt (he wrote the script for that gut-bustingly funny movie) has gotten serious with this disturbing exploration of how people act when they think no one is watching. The film is disconcerting on another level as well, the non-fictional reality that no matter where we go (and even in our own home, as evidenced by the "nanny cam" that one family sets up in the film) or what we do, cameras are watching us and recording our every move. And Look barely includes the modern cellphone-cam phenomenon, the invention that has been the downfall of celebrities like Michael Richards. Rifkin has fashioned a compelling film, and one that will definitely make you think twice about acting out your fantasies, criminal intentions, or personal foibles anywhere but in a closed and locked private room.

Bottom Line rated this film 3 stars.