"Look Both Ways is a poignant film that exposes the funny side of serious topics. How to cope with death is one thing; but how to cope with one's life is quite another. It explores the big issues and the small, enabling us to not only look carefully, but to look at life from all angles."
Louise Keller URBAN CINEFILE
"a strikingly compassionate, profoundly hopeful work."
Veronica Gleeson IF MAGAZINE
"one of the best Australian films in recent memory."
Ben McEachen Adelaide Advertiser
"Watt's sensitive, controlled handling of the various strands of the narrative is very impressive; these aren't just interesting characters, they're flawed but beautiful human beings, and your heart reaches out to them as they pick their way through the difficulties of simply living."
David Stratton AT THE MOVIES
"Just when we thought the film industry was on its last legs, along comes 'Look Both Ways'."
Margaret Pomeranz AT THE MOVIES
"It's difficult to imagine "Look Both Ways" making an impact. Our struggling local film industry is in desperate need of a brilliant project to break the drought: and this just isn't it."
Mark Beirne OUR BRISBANE.COM
"A stunningly acted meditation on the sorrow and precariousness of living, and living well, Look Both Ways is a profound, majestic work of art that marks the arrival of an exceptionally gifted director."
Marta Jary FILMINK
"Reminded me at times of Ray Lawrence's Lantana, for its ensemble structure, its care with characterisation and its underlying seriousness, but Lantana wasn't a comedy. Look Both Ways isn't a thigh-slapper either, but it is full of wry observation about the mysteries of human behaviour. It has a very individual consciousness behind it, an off-centre intelligence that makes it a pleasure to watch."
SYDNEY MORNING HERALD
"Is deceptively transparent and simple but weaves its own special magic. I think you'll find the word-of-mouth on this film is particularly strong. If there's a hurdle to jump it's that the target audience is a particularly choosy one: people who like their films finely crafted and well-thought-out and touched with genuine wit and wisdom as well. Not everyone's cup of tea, but highly recommended."
Peter Thompson SUNDAY
"Look Both Ways is a touching story of interlocking lives and opposing takes on the unplanned; a film about learning how to put worst case scenarios into perspective. It is recommended for anybody looking for a bit of perspective themselves."
Lyndal Irons INSIGHTS
"The performances are solid across the board, while Watt's screenplay explores big issues with maturity. Unfortunately, "Look Both Ways" is an incredibly sullen and morbid film that wallows in its characters' grief for 100 minutes. There are brief attempts at humour but the film is in real need of a stronger comedic edge to counterbalance the seriousness of the themes."
Mark Beirne OUR BRISBANE.COM
The Inside Story
"William McInnes gives the performance of his career. Justine Clarke is positively luminous" Tom Ryan THE AGE
Considering all the hype surrounding "Look Both Ways" you'd think that this was 'the' film which will turn around the floundering Australian film industry. Well don't you believe it! While there is much to like about Sarah Watts directorial debut feature film "Look Both Ways" it's no where near the same league as "Peaches" nor is it a touch on "Oyster Farmer". Sure they're different film. It doesn't take an Einstien IQ to tell that but when you start to trumpet about saving the local film industry, "give me a break!" Now while that may seem a little harsh I would like to praise both William McInnes and Justine Clarke who play the lead roles. They are the life blood of the film. As for the animated segments within the film, each viewer will have to make up his or her mind as to whether it is ground breaking, gimmicky or just a distraction. "The animated sequences are a way of giving Nick and Meryl a visible internal life, rather than relying only on the actors’ performances", says director and writer Sarah Watt. "It’s one that’s special to each of them: to a painter, and a photographer. From this example, you can imagine that all the characters would have internal lives." Even though Watt is an award winning animator [1995 Baby Lion for Best Short Film at the Venice Film Festival with "Small Treasures"] most will probably agree that when it comes to the animated material it's a 'take it or leave it' proposition. Others will see it as absolutely integral to the films storyline [what little there is of one] an insight into the mindset of the characters. It's as if it "Look Both Ways" can't make up its mind as to whether it wants to be a comedy or a tragedy as neither drives the storyline. Could that be because as Watt says "I set out to make a romantic comedy, but the stuff of most people’s lives includes what we think of as tragedy, so "Look Both Ways" ended up a bit of both I guess. I like searching for the universal aspects of people’s experience, in both the big and little things. I tried to keep everything as ‘real’ as I could, to allow people to receive the film as part of their own experience, to bring their own lives to it and enjoy it that way." South Australian cinemagoers will get a buzz out of the films location, which is Port Adelaide. Watt had envisaged the film being shot in her own backyard, Melbourne, but that turned out to be financially unfeasable. "Sarah had in mind a very urban, industrial look. We shot most of the film around the mixed industrial, warehouse, neighbourhood at Port Adelaide, which also gave us the railway connection," says production designer Rita Zanchetta. The move to Port Adelaide came about thanks to the enthusiasm of both the South Australian Film Corporation and the Adelaide Film Festival who provided generous funding for the film and a World Premiere at the 2005 Adelaide Film Festival where "Look Both Ways" took the audience award for best film. It's not the only award the production has picked up. It also took the 2004 Queensland Literary Award for Best Film Script. Filming took place over seven weeks from "mid-March to late April 2004, in the lingering heat of the late Adelaide summer, with an enthusiastic, predominantly South Australian crew." Producer Bridget Ikin says, "The making of "Look Both Ways" has been a remarkably enjoyable process full of the pleasure of working with a committed creative team, on a script we all felt really had something significant to say to us about how to deal with the absurdly random nature of our lives, in which we continue to look for ‘meaning’, and seek happiness." "Look Both Ways" is, despite its weaknesses, a watchable film as I've already pointed out, thanks to McInnes and Clarke. Whether it does well at the box-office will depend on the audience it attracts. It doesn't have the commercial appeal of a film such as "Lantana" which means it should do best in the 'art-house' cinemas where I suspect the 'mature minded' cinemagoers will appreciate it more. One thing I sincerely hope is, that when it comes award time people keep a level head. It's a reasonable first up effort, but that's all it is. Reasonable but definately not outstanding.
What They Had To Say
"You only really bring life into sharp relief when it's questioned, when you actually realise the fragility of it", notes William McInnes ["Broken Highway"]. "I think the really interesting thing about this film is that it doesn't labour these things or make them grander than they are."
"I watched Annie Hall a fair bit when I was preparing because Meryl reminded me so much of Diane Keaton, who’s so gracefully goofy in that film,' recalls Justine Clarke ["Mad Max Beyond Thunderdome"].
"Some people no matter what they do, they're honest or earnest and you can’t help but like them," Anthony Hayes said, adding "even as they keep digging themselves a bigger hole."
"Sarah's main concern was honesty," Rita Zanchetta revealed. "To make real to an audience who the characters were, where they were from, what kind of neighbourhood they lived in."
"My visual style is often fairly simple", says director of photography Ray Argall who came out of 'retirement' to shoot the film. The challenge was how to enhance the story without overwhelming it. I instinctively watched the natural beauty of what was there, and really, for a lot of the time, I simply tried to enhance or recreate that."
"The ideas in the story felt very current – and authentic - to me, and, together with Barbara Masel, we were full of momentum and excitement for the intriguing world of the characters, ideas and sensibility that Sarah was exploring," producer Bridget Ikin ["Crush"] said.
"I think what made all the questions about story or character so energised," says script editor and associate producer Barbara Masel, "is that Sarah so completely knew what it was that she was exploring in the material."
Crew Bytes
"LOOK BOTH WAYS" was .......
directed by Sarah Watt
["The Web I & II", "Derwent Envy", "Way Of The Birds" and "Living With Happiness"]; screenplay by Sarah Watt ["Small Treasures", "Local Dive", "Living With Happiness" and "Look Both Ways"]; costume design by Edie Kurzer ["Lilian's Story", "Thank God He Met Lizzie", "My Mother Frank" and "Horseplay"]; production design by Rita Zanchetta ["Sally Marshall Is Not an Alien", "Kabbarli", "The Honourable Wally Norman" and "Moustache"]; edited by Denise Haratzis ["Love Serenade", "Dead Letter Office", "Me Myself I" and "The Illustrated Family Doctor"]; director of photography Ray Argall ["The Plains of Heaven", "The Castanet Club", "Lost" and "Desperate Man Blues"]; original music by Amanda Brown ["Bartleby", "Harvey", "Floodhouse" and "Preservation"] produced by Bridget Ikin ["An Angel at My Table", "Walking On Water", "The Tracker" and "Australian Rules"].
Casting About
"LOOK BOTH WAYS" stars .......
William McInnes
["The Heartbreak Kid", "Bad Baby Amy", "Dirty Deeds" and "You and Your Stupid Mate"]; Justine Clarke ["Bootmen", "Danny Deckchair", "Japanese Story" and "Car Park"]; Anthony Hayes ["Bootmen", "Alice", "Ned Kelly" and "Get Rich Quick"]; Lisa Flanagan ["Australian Rules", "Black and White", "Turn Around" and "Queen Of Hearts"]; Daniella Farinacci ["Lantana", "Baggage Claim" and "Brothers"]; Andreas Sobik ["At Swim-Two-Birds" and "Come Sweet Death"] and Andrew S Gilbert ["Mullet", "Rabbit Proof Fence", "Dirty Deeds" and "Ned Kelly"] as Phil.
What It's All About
"Clarke, Hayes and McInnes are standouts." Veronica Gleeson IF MAGAZINE
A visit to the doctor has brought bad news for newspaper photographer Nick. He has testicular cancer but will need to see a specialist before undergoing treatment. Shattered, he returns to work where his Editor Phil sends him on an assignment to cover the tragic death of a man run over by a suburban train. It's a sobering moment for Nick when he photographs a grieving woman who is the dead mans partner. It is the start of what will lead into a defining weekend for four people. For Nick, his journalist workmate Andy, Andy's girlfriend who is pregnant and Meryl an artist with a deadline to meet, it will be a weekend to ponder decisions that will shape their futures. Nick's problem get worse when he sleeps with Meryl but doesn't reveal he has cancer.
The Verdict
"While there is much to like about "Look Both Ways", in particular the fact that it makes a reasonably good offering when it comes to an Australian production, it will take a lot more than this to save the local film industry. It's a brave little film that features groundbreaking animated segments which leap out at the unsuspecting viewer, but while McInnes and Clarke give solid performances in the lead roles and the storyline ain't half bad, the overall finish of the film leaves a lot to be desired. It will appeal best to the thirtyish plus age group and anyone who out there who is still interested in local productions. Certainly worth looking at if you can get your head around all the hype that this is 'the' aussie film destined to save the day for Australian filmmakers. Director Sarah Watt shows she has talent but it just needs refining. Recommended."
The Cast
William McInnes
Justine Clarke
Anthony Hayes
Lisa Flanagan
Andrew S Gilbert
Daniella Farinacci
Maggie Dence
Edwin Hodgeman
Andreas Sobik
Sacha Horler
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Nick
Meryl
Andy Walker
Anna
Phil
Julia
Joan
Jim
Train driver
Linda
The Crew
Directed by Sarah Watt
Written by Sarah Watt
Produced by Bridget Ikin
Original Music by Amanda Brown
Cinematography by Ray Argall
Film Editing by Denise Haratzis
Production Design by Rita Zanchetta
Art Direction by Simon McCutcheon
Set Decoration by Toni Forsyth
Costume Design by Edie Kurzer
Production Manager Leone Cichon
Run Time 100 minutes
Rated M [AUST]
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