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Overall Rating
4.08

Awesome70.83%
Worth A Look: 0%
Average: 8.33%
Pretty Bad: 8.33%
Total Crap: 12.5%

1 review, 18 user ratings



Look Both Ways
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by U.J. Lessing

"Death and Depression Down Under"
5 stars

Why can’t every filmmaker have a debut like this? First-time feature film director, Sarah Watt has a natural flair for cinematic imagery and uses it to tackle two very difficult topics: death and introspection. Most films about shell-shocked characters coming to grips with their own mortality are either excruciating or forcefully comical. (I’m guessing that studio execs read the plot summary and found this film unmarketable, but whatever the reason, “Look Both Ways” didn’t get the full release in the States that it richly deserved.) Not so with this mini-masterpiece. “Look Both Ways” cleverly celebrates its characters, while unflinchingly challenging them.

The film takes us to Adelaide, a sprawling city in Southern Australia. Trains and trams cut through its landscape, and its buildings bake in the heat. A news story grips the city’s population: a train has jumped its tracks in a tunnel. Many are dead and missing. It’s Friday, and tragedy is defining the weekend.

Artist, Meryl (Justine Clarke) lives in the heart of the city. Fueled by the accident and the unexpected death of her father weeks earlier, she imagines death and potential accidents all around. On her way home and in the midst of many fantasized thoughts of her own demise (outstandingly animated by the director herself), Meryl witnesses a real tragedy, a man hit by a train.

The accident draws together a myriad of characters, each motivated by an event that puts his or her future in question. Each of them spends the weekend dispersing across Adelaide like ripples across a pond. We quickly realize that one of the wanderers, Nick (William McInnes), is destined to become Meryl’s soul mate. A rugged and healthy man, Nick is a news photographer who carries a dreadful burden of his own.

Watt’s ability to visually capture the way people think when they are overcome by anxiety is exceptional. Characters’ thoughts and ideas rip through the film and drive the narrative home. Her masterful techniques include animation, collage, montage and jump cuts.

But the true energy in the film comes from its richly developed characters. The key to an excellent drama lies in whether or not an audience can see their own qualities mirrored in the characters. In “Look Both Ways” every single character expresses emotions that feel subtly familiar to the viewer.

It is to this film’s credit that it never turns into a movie about philosophy but instead explores characters trying to overcome fear of the future. The result is a film that’s as comforting as it is dramatic.

Don’t be put off by the subject matter. “Look Both Ways” is too important to miss.

link directly to this review at http://www.efilmcritic.com/review.php?movie=12662&reviewer=396
originally posted: 09/14/06 06:44:58
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For more in the Australian series, click here.
OFFICIAL SELECTION: 2005 Toronto Film Festival For more in the 2005 Toronto Film Festival series, click here.
OFFICIAL SELECTION: 2005 Chicago Film Festival For more in the 2005 Chicago Film Festival series, click here.
OFFICIAL SELECTION: 2005 Vancouver Film Festival For more in the 2005 Vancouver Film Festival series, click here.
OFFICIAL SELECTION: 2006 Portland Film Festival For more in the 2006 Portland Film Festival series, click here.
OFFICIAL SELECTION: 2006 Florida Film Festival For more in the 2006 Florida Film Festival series, click here.
OFFICIAL SELECTION: 2006 Philadelphia Film Festival For more in the 2006 Philadelphia Film Festival series, click here.
OFFICIAL SELECTION: 2006 Independent Film Festival of Boston For more in the 2006 Independent Film Festival of Boston series, click here.
OFFICIAL SELECTION: 2006 San Francisco Film Festival For more in the 2006 San Francisco Film Festival series, click here.

User Comments

5/05/17 HB Softly&powerfully,poignant if you let go of the "Hollywood" mold&reconnect to your humanity 5 stars
5/04/09 oogabooga worst movie ever. fullstop. 1 stars
1/08/09 Shaun Wallner Awesome Film. 5 stars
4/12/08 joseph school made me watch it...couple of times too fucking boring shit 2 stars
3/12/08 KillHouse School made me watch it 2 stars
8/06/07 Hello Stranger not many people get it. i think its wonderful 5 stars
3/29/07 Indrid Cold Despite the animation, it's just a mediocre drama. Nothing to write home about. 3 stars
10/15/06 William Goss Frequently absorbing dramedy distracts itself w/ off-kilter tone. Nice, but just... off. 3 stars
4/17/06 Katie Heath A unique cinematic experience. I loved it. 5 stars
11/14/05 Katie Heath Best Aussie film in years!! Hasn't anyone in the states seen it! Pity!!! 5 stars
10/25/05 Green Gremlin One of the best Aussie films ever made !!! 5 stars
9/21/05 mookashieba Anthony was great he played the part well, great film, loved it!!!!! 5 stars
9/13/05 emmy langley Why do Australians continue to make this dull, pretentious, shit. 1 stars
9/13/05 Jessie Miller Australian cinema at its best 5 stars
8/31/05 Will Nitschke Boring, pretentious and slow. Had to watch birds circle in the air a half dozen times too. 1 stars
8/28/05 Nathan Jett Fucking amazing, dangerous territory, beautifully tackled 5 stars
8/16/05 Pam Hayes Excellent. Good mix of drama & Comedy. Very Australian. Good role for Tony Hayes. 5 stars
8/10/05 Lisa Gilligan Brilliant, moving, gorgeous! Loved it! 5 stars
IF YOU'VE SEEN THIS FILM, RATE IT!
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USA
  14-Apr-2006 (PG-13)
  DVD: 05-Dec-2006

UK
  25-Aug-2006

Australia
  18-Aug-2005



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