Look At Me DVD Review
PicturePresented with anamorphic 2.35:1 transfer, Look At Me's lushly composed photography retains a reasonably cinematic image. However, there is a lot of visible grain sliding about and a rather muted and, at times, quite sickly colour palette that does the image a terrible disservice. The picture is quite soft too, losing a lot of background detail such as the distance shots of tree-filled slopes looking back from Sebastien at the train station, for instance. Skin tones, on the review disc anyway, seemed slightly anaemic, with noise and a slight smearing apparent in some scenes, too. Blacks were quite strong though - if perhaps a little too strong! Sometimes, during external night-time scenes far too much of the screen is swallowed up in inky blackness and, during one crucial moment on the back porch, Etienne's black top merges so completely with the evening gloom that his hands just seem to be floating about in thin air. Another case of the blacks devouring all in sight is when Etienne steps outside from the church performance - this could have been a lovely shot of the church with its glowing windows but the lack of clarity coupled with the ever-hungry blacks rob the image of atmosphere altogether. Again though, this may just be a problem with the check disc. The subtitles are a little too large for my liking, as well, straying frequently too far into the picture. These are un-removable. So, nitpicking aside, although there's nothing too damning, I would still have expected a better transfer than this.
SoundAlthough given a French Dolby Digital 5.1 mix, Look At Me is predominantly dialogue driven so don't go expecting any wrap-around dynamics to hurtle across the room. In fact, you may as well ignore the sub and the rears altogether as this track is certainly going to, save for a smattering of ambient chatter and traffic. But the problem here is that, despite a quite forceful and upfront approach, the soundscape is limited to virtually the centre speaker alone, with little in the way of separation to help invigorate the movie. Even the rumble of thunder barely manages to escape from the front right speaker. Dialogue, though, is consistently clean and clear and the singing is beautifully delivered. During Lolita's final bike ride the music swells quite impressively, too. So, whilst I don't think the disc's audio transfer differs from its original theatrical outing, I'm marking it down for the simple fact that it contains a wholly unnecessary surround track that does little to open up the movie.
ExtrasOn the extras front Pathe have provided a fairly lengthy and subtitled Making Of documentary. Running for 1hr 04mins this broken down into 31 chapters - though you can't access them from a separate menu - this covers many of the elements that brought Look At Me to the screen. There is a lot of stuff here but the whole doc came across as almost as yawn-inducing as the film, itself. Many aspects are covered from screen tests to a lot of rehearsal footage. But without any interviews we are not allowed any access into the thought processes that brought the film to the screen, we merely eavesdrop and spectate on the filming. Thus we get a lot of technical stuff and one very aptly titled segment, Much Ado About Nothing, of two people sitting in glum silence on a sofa waiting for the set-up to be completed so that they can perform one-line. To be brutally honest, that title sums up the entire movie as well.
Nice to have the feature but it really offers very little incentive to make you go back and revisit the movie to, for instance, discover a slight subtext you hadn't picked up on. Outstays its welcome, I'm afraid.
We also get the Theatrical Trailer and a Photo Gallery of 30 stills. Not a great package, overall.
VerdictWell, despite its perhaps commendable determination to bring something a little different to the screen, I found Look At Me a terminally dull movie that plodded about without offering any joy along the way. I'm not saying that I wanted singing and dancing and some good old guffaws - far from it. I'd heard a lot about this film and I recognise the pedigree of the creative team behind it - Jaoui and Bacri have received critical plaudits for a while now with On Connait La Chanson (1997) and Gout Des Autres (2001) - but, for me at least, the whole thing spent a lot of time muddling about in the mire of relationships, foundered and then sank. I cared little for anyone and less about the outcome. Neither funny, clever or heartwarming and offering very little to muse upon.
Pathe's disc has average stamped all over it. A weighty, but soulless, Making Of and an insipid gallery. Even the transfer seems to have lost its heart. Drab and underwhelming. It will have its fans, though. Sadly, I'm not one of them.
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