Look Both Ways


Directed by: Sarah Watt
Written by:Sarah Watt
Starring: William McInnes, Justine Clarke, Anthony Hayes, Andrew S. Gilbert, Sacha Horler, Lisa Flanagan
Released: August 18, 2005
Grade: A

Do you own a house?  If so, it’s time to sell it and place all the proceeds on Look Both Ways to win best film at this year’s Australian Film Institute Awards (to be held in November).  Without any shadow of a doubt, it’s the best Aussie flick of the past two years.  Our film industry may still be in a slump but at this provides assurance that we do have some very talented artists in this country.

The film reminded me of Paul Thomas Anderson’s Magnolia.  There are many characters and many stories but they are all tied together in some way.  Nick (McInnes) is a middle aged photographer who has just been told by his doctor that he has cancer.  Meryl (Clarke) is a painter who is plagued with premonitions of death.  Phil (Gilbert) is a newspaper editor who feels like he doesn’t belong at home.  Andy (Hayes) is a journalist who just can’t get people to listen to him.  A train accident serves as a turning point for all of them.  Exactly how it all fits together, I will leave for you to discover.

Shot in South Australia, Look Both Ways is a wonderful collaboration which has been crafted by writer-director Sarah Watt.  Like another Australian film of a few years back, The Tracker, some animation is mixed amongst the live footage to great effect.  It gives the film a real buzz and its particularly graphic nature is both hilarious and disturbing.  The well-selected soundtrack helps bring it all together and is ideally placed in the film’s reflective moments.

When watching Look Both Ways you’re sure to go through a range of emotions and relate with many of the characters.  It feels real and honest – a story about ordinary people who act like ordinary people, speak like ordinary people and have problems like ordinary people.

It’s unrelated to my review but I also want to praise the marketing of the film.  The posters are distinctive and looks great with the road sign design.  The trailer is also memorable – it’s split into 3 parts and on the times that I’ve seen it, two trailers for other films have been shown in between.  The film is only screening at a couple of cinemas in Brisbane but I pray that it finds a strong audience and receives positive word of mouth.  At the Brisbane International Film Festival earlier this month, the film played to a sell-out crowd and was voted the best film of the festival by the audience.  When you consider it was up against roughly 200 other films, that’s a pretty impressive honour!

Last year, Look Both Ways won a Queensland Premier’s Literary Award.  Now that the screenplay has been developed into the final product, more awards should follow.  The film has already been invited to screen at this year’s Toronto Film Festival, my personal favourite and considered by some to be the best in the world.  I look forward to hearing the plaudits from critics across the globe.