Look Both Ways  [DVD]
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Award-winning Australian drama. Opening with one man being hit by train as another is diagnosed with testicular cancer, what follows is actually a love story. Nick (William McInnes), who is trying to live a normal life after being told he has cancer, ends up meeting Meryl (Justine Clarke), the only witness to the to the tragic train accident. Instantly drawn to one another, the two share their experiences of life and death while their family and friends suffer their own personal crises. The film, which blends animation and live action, was selected for a Critic's Week Special Screening at Cannes Film Festival, and also won the Discovery Award at the 2006 Toronto Film Festival.
Top customer reviews
Over a sweltering weekend, people play cricket and take their kids for a barbecue, while artist, Meryl (Justine Clarke) witnesses a man being hit by a train while chasing the dog. She reports it to the police, and at the scene meets a newspaper photographer, Nick (William McInnes), who has just been told he has an aggressive form of testicular cancer.
Also at the scene is Andy (Anthony Hayes), a journalist for the same newspaper as Nick who writes the cover story for the accident in the local paper. Nick has his own problems. He is confronted by health worker Anna (Lisa Flanagan) with the news that she's pregnant, her ultimatum is that he is to shape up or ship out of her life.
Nick already has two kids from a previous marriage and fatherhood sits unsteadily with him at best. But when he takes a devastating photograph of the victim's wife, Julia (Daniela Farinacci) that lands on the front page by his editor Phil (Andrew S. Gilbert), this snapshot of ordinary life triggers characters into groping with life's options rather than moping around contemplating death.
As the characters negotiate around each other, writer-director Sarah Watt uses animation to portray her protagonist's innermost thoughts. When characters imagine the worst - train crashes, cancer cells attacking - their thoughts are rendered in impressionistic, painterly swirls. It works well, even though there's a bit too much of it and it becomes a bit gimmicky after awhile.
The strength of the film is the naturalistic portrayal of these damaged and lonely people, who are left to cope with very ordinary crisis. The handsome William McInnes and the lovely Justine Clarke are certainly standouts, Nick and Meryl's tentative romance is poignant and subtle -she's the unassuming artist and he's the diffident photographer, battling with his cancer news yet can't bring himself to tell anyone.
Look Both Ways won't appeal to everyone, it's often confusing and opaque and sometimes even grim, but the animation sequences provide a quirky humor to make this dark path a whole lot brighter.
It's funny and moving and it's about finding love in the unlikeliest of places and it makes you think about the fact that it takes just one moment to transform everything. The film shows that it's never too late to look at your life and change your concerns and rethink the whole way you look at the world and at relationships. Mike Leonard December 06.
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