Look Both Ways is easier to summarize than it is to follow when watching. After seeing it for the first time you may have an impulse to watch it again because you know you missed a lot and because there are things you’d like to try to figure out. If you liked Magnolia you will like this film. If “thought provoking” is not a good thing to say about a film and if you prefer simple entertainment, then you should pass on this one. The gist of it is summed up well in one of its lines: “Every one has to find a way to face his own death.” Almost everyone in the film is dealing with death, either in thought or in reality.
The main character has cancer. A local train crash has taken lives and is dominating the news. A man stepped in front of a train and was killed, perhaps a suicide. The image of his anguished widow on page one of the local paper is on people’s minds. There is a group consciousness of these things and there are individual consciousnesses. The fascination of this film is its portrayal of people’s innermost thought and the frequent contrasts with their expressed ones.
Nick is the main character who has just learned about his cancer. He is a newspaper photographer. He sees things in images. When his thoughts wander you see those images rolling past as in a slide show. Meryl is woman he meets by chance and she is an artist. She sees things in painted animations. It’s about the thoughts that “cross our minds” and are usually unexpressed if not surpressed. We all have these flashbacks, these forecasts, these conversations with ourselves and with imagined others. It isn’t often that we see them illustrated so honestly and realistically.
It would be wrong to brand this as a morbid film. Nor is it a sentimental one. It is really an excellent study of life and there is a sense of community in all of its character studies. People are trying to find their ways, and often they are trying to help each other in doing so.
If you decide to see the film, I’d love to know what you think.
View the film trailer:http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wnC0ZG-R7yo