LOOK BOTH WAYS was the big winner at the 2005 Australian Film Institute
Awards, picking up prizes for Best Picture, Best Director (Sarah Watt in her feature
debut) and Best Supporting Actor. The film, which unfolds over the course of a
weekend, is something of a departure for Australian cinema as it takes and Altmanesque
approach, following the lives of several characters, all of whom intersect at the film's start
due to a tragic event.
Meryl (Justine Clarke) sees doom and gloom all around her (and her daydreams
are vividly brought to life in appealingly hand-drawn animation). As she negotiates day
to day, Meryl sees train wrecks, rapes and murders, shark attacks, drownings, etc. It's
fairly safe to say that she's not exactly spreading sunshine. On her way to home from her
father's funeral, she is the only witness to an accident.
Sent to investigate the story are Nick (William McInness), a newspaper photographer
who has just received a diagnosis of testicular cancer, and Andy (Anthony Hayes), a
divorced reporter experiencing difficulties in his current relationship with girlfriend Anna
(Lisa Flanaghan). There's chemistry between Nick and Meryl and it perhaps comes as
little surprise that they will tentatively begin a relationship. Both are damaged goods,
with the spectre of death hanging over each. The issue at stake is whether or not
these two guarded people can allow themselves to give over to happiness.
Watt juggles the many strands of her story well, and while the technique of having
Meryl's fears manifest themselves via animation becomes a bit tired, LOOK BOTH WAYS
works well. The cast all deliver letter-perfect performances, and one of my favorite
Australian actresses, Sacha Horler (who was brilliant in PRAISE), appears in a brief cameo.
MPAA Rating: PG-13 for some violent images, sexual content
and thematic material
Running time: 100 min.
Viewed at NEW DIRECTORS/NEW FILMS
|Look Both Ways
|© 2006 by C. E. Murphy. All Rights Reserved.