Tuesday, 30 April 2013


I wonder if one was to take the best elements of Michael Winterbottom's films and fuse them into a film of their own, would it be as wondrous as those elements are in isolation? Were he to edit his ideas, focus his attention and trim down his schedule (without, necessarily, his workload), he might land a few more bullseyes. The Look of Love lands somewhere not too far from target, but not quite close enough to satisfy. It has a workmanlike aesthetic, and a plainly boring structure and theme, and seems to opine that all the naked women in London suffice in supplying this film with the spice it needs to make an impact. But there's nothing provocative about topless babes nowadays, nor even fully nude ones, and Winterbottom is even surprisingly prudish at times for a director who has gone the whole hog before. I recall The Killer Inside Me, which wasn't just a film about violence, it was a violent experience, brutal in its content and hazy in its mood, giving us the sensation that we too had just been assaulted. The Look of Love may be a film about sex, but it's rarely a sexual experience. Or it may not be a film about sex, but then why does it waste so much time on the subject? Matt Greenhalgh follows the generic biopic blueprint in his screenplay, which condenses complex lives into a minimum of highly significant scenes, allowing Winterbottom little room to breathe life into the film. Production values are fine, although contribute no more than a bland air of authenticity. Performances are quite impressive, but Imogen Poots should never sing (nor lip-sync) again, and if Steve Coogan has a masterly comic delivery, he also has very little range, and he's hardly testing it here. Some moments have been oddly siphoned by abrupt editing - this, alongside issues such as the join showing on Coogan's wig and Poots' aforementioned sloppy miming, adds to the feeling that this was a rushed production. Please, Michael, edit your ideas, focus your attention, trim down your schedule.