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James A. Watson Jr.
Plastic surgeon Larry Roberts performs a series of minor alterations on a group of models who are seeking perfection. The operations are a resounding success. But when someone starts killing his beautiful patients, Dr. Roberts becomes suspicious and starts investigating. What he uncovers are the mysterious - and perhaps murderous - activities of a high-tech computer company called Digital Matrix. Written by
Dated, poorly written and directed, yet still not bad!
Dr. Larry Roberts (Albert Finney) is a top Beverly Hills plastic surgeon who finds himself embroiled in a sinister mind-control conspiracy. After three of his patients are killed in suspicious circumstances, Larry takes it upon himself to protect the apparent next victim, Cindy (the beautiful Susan Dey) and also solve the mystery.
Looker' is possibly director Michael Crichton's most criminally underrated film. Admittedly the screenplay often leaves a lot to be desired but the initial premise is both intriguing and fear-provoking. Crichton's script makes some rather fascinating, and in hindsight rather perceptive, comments about how corporations can abuse both the media and the general public simply through the use of television. Towards the end a particularly pertinent speech is made by John Reaston (James Coburn) on how the general public is willing to submit automatically to the enormous power that television possesses. However, much of the power that Looker' could have potentially possessed is lost with poor pacing, inappropriate and unrealistic dialogue and a couple of major plot-holes. In fact, some eminent questions remain unanswered and the movie ends on a sort of anti-climatic note.
Crichton's direction appears to be somewhat disjointed as the pace of the movie alternates constantly. To begin with Looker' has the correct proportion of suspense to action and is quite thrilling to behold. Unfortunately, certain scenes such as a car chase drag on and become somewhat tedious. One particular sequence of events towards the end of the movie drags on for fifteen minutes and while to begin with is compellingly suspenseful, the sequence begins to feel old and certainly spoils what could have been an effective ending. Looker' also suffers from some particular bland performances, particularly from central actor Albert Finney. His performance was predominantly lacklustre and featured uninspired sequences in which Finney would avoid gunfire by unenthusiastically throwing himself across the floor. That being said Finney did seem to fit the role of Larry Roberts and was fairly entertaining to watch. Susan Dey and James Coburn were both enjoyable in their respective roles and one wonders why more was not done with their characters. Had more time been spent trying to develop these characters then maybe something more could have been done with the movie.
Surprisingly, despite all its flaws Looker' is still somewhat compelling. It is certainly not Crichton's best film but is still vastly underrated in my opinion. The opening sequence is suspenseful and intriguing which is occasionally echoed throughout the rest of the movie, though unfortunately not enough. Looker' is blessed with some wickedly delightful black humour, particularly towards the end and a bizarre, yet mesmerizing, electric musical score from Barry de Vorzon. Some fans will be happy to know that there are unnecessary scenes of full frontal nudity, including one from Susan Dey. The humorous overtones of that particular scene undoubtedly shine through. The ideas of hypnotic and subliminal messaging are what make Looker' compelling even though the film is still heavily damaged by the lack of decent characterisation and storytelling. I think Looker' is worth watching but is most certainly not to everyone's taste. My rating for Looker' 6.5/10.
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