It is estimated that there are 30 million surveillance cameras in the US, and it is estimated that on any given day we appear on 200 of them. What spurned this surge was almost certainly the events on 9/11. The movement though was already well established. Privacy became a thing of the past! In London, England (maybe the most survielled city in the world) people have taken to wearing hoodies, and dark glasses just to avoid being identified on these insidious devices. There is at least one web site that I stumbled across that contained a ‘how to’ book on disabling cameras with low powered lasers. It does not take much to blow out the CCD receptor in a camera.

Film maker Adam Rifkin has produced an interesting and in someways disturbing movie with ‘Look’. The cinematography is done entirely from the perspective of the ever present surveillance camera. George Orwell write 1984 as a work of science fiction, one wonders what he would make of todays world. Big Brother has indeed arrived. The wide angle and elevated camera really does give the look and feel of surveillance video. As Adam admits this was not an easy movie to make, and it essentially breaks all of the film making standards.

Several, at first, completely different stories, gel into one, as each of the stories protagonists intersect, this movie though may not be for the feint of heart. It comes with an ‘R’ rating, and deservedly so. There is a strong sexual content.

Without doubt, the most disturbing story concerns Barry the high school teacher, who is systematically stalked and then seduced by his 16 year old pupil, resulting in a rape charge. Of course the entire sordid event is brought to us through the green haze of a low light night security camera. “Look on the bright side” Barry’s attorney tells him as he languishes in jail, “The camera proves it was consensual, you will only get 10 years, without it, you were looking at 20”. Scant comfort indeed!

Right up there with Barry’s story is the department store manager with the predilection of taking inventory with young pretty store assistants. The young sales assistants are his harem, and the stock room his boudoir. In total there are 5 intersecting stories that are unveiled through the unblinking and seemingly endless surveillance cameras. If nothing else, Look gives you pause for thought, in todays world you are not alone, whether at the gas station, convenience store, the elevator, or even some public restrooms, you are not alone. If you have the urge to scratch your butt, think twice, there may be someone watching!

I had qualms about Look when I read the press release, it seemed to be a disjointed, and technically on thin ice. I was completely wrong, this is a very fine movie, unique in approach, this is groundbreaking cinematography, and Adam Rifkin is to be congratulated. Look did well on the festival circuit, and picked up quite a lot of hardware, I hope it does as well in the main stream theatre.

Look opens on December 14 and is well worth a ‘Look’ if you have the chance. The official web site also has trailers available.

My wife Jan, the co-reviewer and I give Look two thumbs up, and if the Oscars had a voyeur category it would be a shoe in for the award.

Simon Barrett

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