#REVIEW: “THE LOOK OF LOVE”
Director Michael Winterbottom reunites with Thespian Steve Coogan once again, the Duo known best for their collaboration in 2002’s 24 Hour Party People. The Look of Love is a nudity, alcohol and Cocaine-filled look at British Entrepreneur Paul Raymond‘s rise to fortune, thanks to an Empire built on the UK’s first-ever Strip Club, eventually developing into well-known Publications like Men Only, Escort, Club International and Mayfair.
Perhaps more a nonlinear look at Raymond‘s latter years and his relationship with ill-fated Daughter Debbie (Imogen Poots) than a Biopic per say, what the gorgeously-styled Film lacks in comprehensiveness, it certainly is padded by stellar performances and a relentless sense of intrigue. Winterbottom captures beautifully an overwhelming feeling of emptiness admist great abundance in Raymond‘s meteoric ascencion at the cost of losing those who matter most to him, including the two Women he loves most, his Wife Jean (Anna Friel) and Lover Fiona (Tamsin Egerton). The Look of Love is a Film which resonates even after the Credits roll and one cannot help but feel a bit of that lingering loneliness afterward. This is not to say it isn’t without its fun either, as it is rather exhilarating joining Raymond, whom at one point was named Britain’s Richest Man, climb to notoriety even if there is perpetual feeling that it all could it at any point.
Coogan is phenomenal here to say the least, all fun and games in his endless pursuit of pleasure, reining in the focus tightly when it comes to work, fully embodying Raymond‘s ambition and innate ability to understand what his audience wants. As each authentic-feeling era passes, we see his decline and Winterbottom delivers this with empathy. Poots is mesmerizing as his troubled Daughter and the one constant source of support in his life, beneath her glassy-eyed vapidness. Friel delivers fire as the scorned and complex Jean undergoing multiple transformations, while Egerton is captivating as Raymond‘s Lover, also challenged by his taking of liberties in love.
The Look of Love opens via Mongrel Media in Toronto on July 19, 2013 and on July 26, 2013 in Montreal.