Gordon Gaffney on The Look of Love, which screened as part of the 11th Jameson Dublin International Film Festival (14-24 February 2013).
The Look of Love
Thursday, 21st February
The Look of Love sees Steve Coogan team up with director Michael Winterbottom for the first time since 24 Hour Party People in 2002. It tells the story of Paul Raymond “The King of Soho” who opened Britain’s first strip club and went onto become Britain’s richest man in the early 90s. If This is 40 is the sorta sequel to Knocked Up then The Look of Love is the sorta half-sibling of 24 Hour Party People.
Coogan again plays a charismatic impresario, and the film beautifully evokes the swinging 60s, the glamorous 70s and heady 80s much like the Madchester indie/dance music scene of the 80’s and 90s in 24 Hour Party People. The script from Matt Greenhalgh, while sometimes witty, doesn’t explain as much about Raymond’s motivation and background to the events portrayed which makes the narrative less gripping than 24 Hour Party People. The latter also had the benefit of Coogan’s voiceover explaining important characters and events as they appeared on screen.
Coogan is excellent as Raymond, a selfish, charismatic, emotionally distant, successful businessman whose cruel treatment of his family seemed eerily similar to Apple’s Steve Jobs. He is helped by a solid supporting cast in particular Imogen Poots as his troubled daughter Debbie and a host of cameos from some of Britain and Ireland’s best known stars.
A sometimes inspirational but tragic story which captures the decadence of the man’s life and may well lead to plenty of NSFW Googling to learn more. Ideal family viewing for those as dysfunctionally liberal as the Raymonds.