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|Index||50 reviews in total|
Michael Crichton's "Looker" is a challenging and intelligent thriller that's
better than you would expect. Since most reviews of the film are negative,
that's created an unfair bias against it. That's a shame because this film
is a pleasure to watch.
The plot is like a Rubik's Cube. Just when you thought you had it figured out, WHAM!! a twist comes out of nowhere and confounds the viewer. That's one of the films' pleasures.
The stylish photography is another plus. A key part of all of Crichton's films is the flashy, stylish photography and that's no exception here. Shot by Paul Lohmann in Panavision, "Looker" often looks and feels like "Westworld" mixed with "Coma" polished with lemon pledge. It's atmospheric and great to look at.
The performances are another key. Albert Finney, entering the horror cycle of his career (with this and another 1981 release "Wolfen", which contains many of the same elements that make this so good), projects fear and calm every scene he's in and it's another strong performance from one of our most underrated actors (he's never won an Oscar; a thought that boggled the mind). It seems fitting that he's paired up with another underrated actor, James Coburn. In a time where he was making one horrible film after another (until his renaissance in 1997), it's good to see him in a good film for a change.
I have some problems with the plot, mostly things that are left unexplained (the American TV/European theatrical version restores 15 minutes of story that fills in these holes) Now that I think about it, that's a good thing. Crichton wants us to be confused just like his hero and part of the fun is figuring everything out as he does.
"Looker" is a film that deserves to be mentioned in the same breath as "Westworld", "Coma" and "The Great Train Robbery". It shows impeccable skill and masterful direction that lesser talents have shown in bigger hits than this. It's worth a look.
**** out of 4 stars
Nearing its 20th birthday, "Looker" still holds up today as a solid
techno-thriller. Expertly tucking a government/industrial conspiracy
a blanket of computer-phobic tension, the film manages to predate the
success of the "X-Files" before cyberspace became a household
Finney and Coburn are subtly superb in their roles, while Crichton (unintentionally) satirizes a media-saturated culture ripe for the string-pulling. Barry De Vorzon's score is hauntingly impressive (and sadly, unavailable in soundtrack form) as is the cheesy 80's title track performed by Sue Saad (later covered by Kim Carnes on her "Voyeur" album).
People have slammed the script for its lack of explanation... however, a 15-minute scene depicting a rather detailed "summing up" of the plot was deleted from the theatrical/home video cut, but did make the film's network TV airings. With or without the scene, the film is an often-overlooked gem I would strongly recommend to anyone in the mood for a slick, sci-fi thriller.
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.
Mr. Friedman's review says it all. I loved this film when I first saw it and have never forgotten it. The premise includes the notion that, one day, it will be possible for computers to create lifelike images of real people. 20 yrs. later, we're still working on it, but close. Haven't seen it in a long time but remember it was dramatic and well executed. And yes, I'd personally see this film again just for that scene of Susan Dey's gorgeous bod being turned on a pedestal, being laser scanned into a computer.
The movie Looker is worth a look in my humble opinion. I read the reviews and I was surprised at the results.I think that Looker is a terrific movie.It has everything that you could want in a movie, strictly for entertainment value.You can sit down, relax,and just escape into a good science fiction thriller.The movie is campy and cheesy in some parts, but that is what makes the Looker fun. The soundtrack is great.I love the music and songs in this movie.Looker has a wonderful high tech glossy value to it.This movie has a knock out cast. James Coburn,Albert Finney,Dorian Harewood, Leigh Taylor-Young, and Susan Dey did a wonderful job.Albert Finney and James Coburn are good in just about every movie that they make.I highly recommend this movie to lovers of science fiction.
A plastic surgeon gets suspicious when the police question him about the death of a model he's worked on, and learns that all the models he's worked on who came in with "shopping lists" of miniscule changes that "had to be fixed, so I could be perfect," are dead. Susan Day has just come in with a list of her own, and he decides to keep an eye on her - and learns of a plot to use computer generated images made from detailed electronic measurements of the models to replace live models for commercials and acting. One bonus is about 3 minutes of Susan Day being measured, sans clothing. Let's face it, every boy who grew up watching "The Partridge Family" dreamed of the chance to see her like this! (The nudity is handled tastefully - there's nothing graphic.)
I first saw this movie on HBO as a child. I couldn't remember the name
of th movie or who played in it, but I couldn't get the scene of Albert
Finney on the commercial set near the end of the movie out of my mind.
After asking around using that scene as my only guide, I was finally
able to get someone to tell me.
After watching it again, I was very interested in the movie's plot despite how ridiculous it seemed. For example, why would RI security officers be at the scene of a car accident? Why didn't DMI use computers to generate locations as well as models? Or why did the mustachioed man suddenly remember he had those special glasses in the car chase scene only AFTER being shot by the LOOKER gun? There are others.
But it has it's redeeming qualities as well. The music is captivating and helps to build on the excitement of some of the action scenes. And I don't believe I've seen a more passionate kick to the groin than the one given by Albert Finney. All in all, Looker would probably not stand up next to today's movies, but it has a charm about it. It must have made some kind of impression on me as a child to remain in my head for the past 25 years. Recommended rental. Buy it if you like off-beat, quasi-mainstream movies. I bought it and plan on getting good use out of it. Perfect for unsuspecting house guests.
Obviously forgotten today, and maybe that's a problem.
Michael Crichton dealt in practical Science Fiction. How a potential technology could really cause problems in the here and now. This movie hit on a few of them, some of which HAVE come to pass.
His premise is that computers could be used to simulate characters (already has happened) and that they could be used to influence us by using algorithms to calculate our optimum responses. (Again, probably happening now, even if we don't know about it.)
The plot is that a plastic surgeon is asked to alter four women into perfect specimens, but three of them are killed after wards (they never really explain why.) In trying to protect the last, whom he develops a personal bond with, he uncovers a plot to use computer generated images (wow, and now they are real!) to manipulate our responses.
A note on nudity. We have Susan Dey of Partridge family fame going topless in a couple of scenes. We'd NEVER see that now. If we are lucky, we might see a name actress have her head CGI'd (ironic) onto a body double. But usually, the MPAA would go completely nuts and give the film an R or NC-17 rating.
Some things are dated, such as tape-reading computers and big hair on the women- SO 1980's. But the film's concepts hold up pretty well.
A plastic surgeon in Los Angeles investigates after some of his most beautiful clients--all fashion models--turn up dead. '80's thriller looks dated now, however it has a terrific set-up and proves to be absorbing and exciting for about a third of its length, later resorting to assembly-line theatrics. Michael Crichton, who wrote and directed, certainly isn't enigmatic (he's a filmmaker who always cuts right to the chase), yet in hindsight his script makes very little sense. The cast is good, particularly Susan Dey as Albert Finney's sassy sidekick, but the characters themselves are awfully one-dimensional. Strictly as a time-filler, not bad. **1/2 from ****
It seems that people watch this movie only to give it a below par ratings. Well I liked this picture and the three others that were with me also liked it too. For 1981 I would consider it pretty high tech but for today a little dated, but when I watch any movie I always want to know when it was made so I won't judge it by contemporary standards. We all liked it and I will give it a solid 8/10.
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