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,
  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.

                Rating:                               B
                MPAA Rating:                   PG-13 for some violent images, sexual content
                                                                         and thematic material
                Running time:                   100 min.

                                  Viewed at
Look Both Ways
©  2006 by C. E. Murphy. All Rights Reserved.