Director: Michael Winterbottom
Starring: Steve Coogan, Imogen Poots, Anna Friel, Matt Lucas, Chris Addison
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Running Time: 105 minutes
Extras: Deleted Scenes, Paul Raymond Timeline, Interviews with Michael Winterbottom, Steve Coogan, Anna Friel, Tamsin Egerton, Imogen Poots, Chris Addison, David Walliams, James Lance, Melissa Parmenter, James Pearson and Matt Greenhalgh.
There has been a film screaming to be made of the story of the life of the so called ‘King Of Soho’ Paul Raymond for many years, and now five years after his death, we get one from director Michael Winterbottom and frequent collaborator and star, Steve Coogan, who plays the famous ‘pornographer’ and property mogul.
You could be fooled into thinking that THE LOOK OF LOVE is going to be a titillating and comedic look into the seedy underbelly of one of the capital’s most notorious sex districts, or even believe that this could be the British equivalent to that superb 1990s movie THE PEOPLE VS LARRY FLINT, which revolved around the millionaire Hustler founder from director Milos Forman, but this superb little movie is something different altogether. The film does focus, and is set around the British porn industry in the 1970s, 80s and 90s, but like this month’s theatrical release of LOVELACE, which shares similar themes, the sex element serves more as a backdrop with the story honing in on a more personal narrative, most notably the relationship between Raymond and his daughter.
As stated, the film is very different from what you expect, largely for the better, with top notch performances from some of the cream of British acting and comedy talent, including Chris Addison, David Walliams, Anna Friel, Simon Bird and a superb Imogen Poots as the tortured Debbie Raymond. Due to the fact that of a lot of the cast come from a comedy background, and because if the excellent screenplay by Matt Greenhalgh (CONTROL, NOWHERE BOY), the film features some truly funny moments, but are balanced with a weighty dramatic element as well, which ensures that we never venture into parody or farce.
Coogan is the stand out as Raymond, just managing to steer away from hints of his most celebrated character Alan Partridge. He drives the movie and portrays the character as a more tortured sole, who seemingly despite having the means and to own everything that he could possibly want in life, falling short of getting what he truly desired, and ultimately losing it.
It’s a wonderful film, and an excellent addition to the Winterbottom cannon. Recommended.
EXTRAS: Relatively light on the extras front, and there is a lack of any kind of commentary, but you are gifted with a series of brief, but varied number of interviews with pretty much all of the cast, writer Matt Greenhalgh, and director Michael Winterbottom. We scream for more, especially after one of the last DVDs from a Coogan/ Winterbottom collaboration, the superb 24 HOUR PARTY PEOPLE, was so darned tasty. A little disappointing.
THE LOOK OF LOVE is available on DVD and Blu-Ray in the UK from Monday 19th August 2013.