Monday, March 05, 2007

Look Both Ways: Grade B


Look Both Ways (2005)

Justine Clarke, William McInnis. Writer-Director: Sarah Watt. Australian.

This is a quiet contemplation on how we face death, as individuals and as a society. McInnis, a strapping, healthy-looking newspaper photographer, discovers he has runaway cancer and only a short while to live. He meets Clarke, a starving artist, at the site of an accident where she saw a man run over by a train. They are attracted to each other for different reasons. He searches for comfort and intimacy to assuage his terrifying prospect. She looks to satisfy her loneliness and maybe to quiet her biological clock. But they don’t speak these things to each other. An interesting technique is that Clarke’s character imagines dreadful disasters happening to herself and others, at every moment. These imaginations are depicted in intercut penciled or water color animations. As she looks at a train, we see a spectacular train wreck. At the pool we see swimmers chomped in half by sharks. It is an innovative way to show a character’s thoughts, but it is poorly used, as her obsession with horrible accidental death does not play into the main story. The technique works a little better with McInnis’ character, who tries to imagine what he did to “catch” cancer. There are also some loosely related substories. The driver of the train that struck the man is overcome with grief and eventually delivers his condolences to the widow in a touching scene. A colleague of McInnis at the newspaper discovers his girlfriend is pregnant and is reluctant to accept responsibility as he struggles to manage his two young children and argue with his ex-wife. The movie is quiet and slow, but very well acted, especially by Clarke, and the themes of confronting both birth and death are humanly compelling. And it is nice to see Australia (Adelaide, I think it was). The music was Aussie pop, lost on me, but mostly inoffensive. This is a zero-budget indie that will be hard to find, but worth looking for.


  1. This is one of the worst reviews i have read! It's not only sad how u did not fully get into the movie, but you did not even care to learn the name of one of the main characters Andy, who u refer to as acted by McInnis, reffering him as the one that has an ex wife and children, also a girlfriend who is pregnant. I am 16 years old and even i can tell how poorly you have done on this review. Bill Adams lift your game

  2. Movies are an art form, so they say different things to different people. I wish you had said what the movie meant to you.

    Anyway, McInnis, who happens to be the husband of director Watt, played the character Nick, not Andy who had kids and a girlfriend. Both characters were played quite well however.