The Look of Love
The Look of Love is in many ways much like 24 Hour Party People, Winterbottom and Coogan’s first big-screen outing together: again the true story of a man making it big in the entertainment business, with all the glamour, excess and sleaze that go with it. Except here, the 1980s Manchester rave scene that was the setting for Winterbottom’s excellent biopic of Tony Wilson is replaced with 1970s London, and the man in question is Paul Raymond, the so called ”King of Soho”.
The story is told using many of the same tricks as the earlier film, such as flashbacks, interviews and montages. With the wonderful attention to detail afforded to costume and set design, it is impossible not to get caught up in Raymond’s world as he works his way up from small fry entertainer to the richest man in Britain, via his ventures into burlesque and soft porn, and his unquenchable thirst for property.
The big difference between the stories of Wilson and Raymond lies in the latter’s lack of meat. In contrast to 24 Hour Party People, where Winterbottom must have made tough decisions about which of the abundant legends and anecdotes to omit, in The Look of Love there’s a noticeable shortage.
Despite his vast wealth, it seems Raymond wasn’t really all that wild, apparently bereft of the kind of rock ‘n’ roll friends and associates that litter Wilson’s story: the closest we actually get to a famous face is his insistence that Ringo Starr helped to design his house. Winterbottom chooses, therefore, to build the story around Raymond’s relationship with his loved ones, and particularly in the tragedy of his daughter Debbie (Imogen Poots). The scenes between the two are occasionally disturbing – while remaining strangely comic – and often genuinely moving.
Coogan and Poots are both very good, and in spite of the thin and sometimes uneven script they make this a compelling and somewhat satisfying watch.
The Look of Love is released on 26th April 2013.
Watch the trailer for The Look of Love here