Film Review: Look Away (2018)

‘The writing is so poor that Maria’s reflection is called Airam. That should tell you more than enough about Assaf Bernstein’s script’

 

Look Away, 2018

Directed by: Assaf Bernstein

Written by: Assaf Bernstein

Starring: India Eisley, Mira Sorvino, Jason Isaacs

A Canadian psychological thriller, Look Away centres around Maria (India Eisley), an unpopular high-school girl who is bullied by her classmates, not tremendously liked by her family or best friend and is in love with her best friend’s boyfriend. Her father even criticises her for not being perfect. This soon leads to Maria meeting Airam, her reflection in the mirror, who confides in her initially, before wanting to take over and enact revenge on all those who have wronged her. But, does Maria want the type of revenge that Airam wants?

There are flashes in this film of a good idea, but those flashes are few and far between. The bullying scenes made me feel somewhat sad for Maria (even if it made no sense that she’d be dragged on the floor at her prom or be continuously assaulted with no repercussions from teachers). Her parents are somewhat well written and the story about them wanting a perfect child, while not explored enough for my liking, is a nice touch. But, they needed a better writer to bring it to fruition.

The father just comes across as weird and perverted, which isn’t quite his story, and all the major arcs are rushed. Firstly, Maria is frightened by the reflection but soon warms to her greatly. It doesn’t have a natural progression. Also, the lore of the reflection isn’t fully explored: can other people see Maria’s reflection? How come the reflection can remember everything in Maria’s life is there aren’t mirrors everywhere?

Look Away, 2

Had I marked the acting rating after half-an-hour, the score would have been higher, as India Eisley seemed to start off quite well (and showed decent facial expressions to convey the effects of the bullying), but, like everyone else, seemed to lose her ability as the film went on. Even having an Academy Award winning actress on board (Mira Sorvino), couldn’t save this film.

But, the worst part about this film was its tone. Her bullying is sombre, the characters all feel angry or sad, even when Airam enacts some revenge it doesn’t produce that feel-good factor that films such as I Spit on your Grave (another revenge-based plot) do.

This tries to have a deeper meaning and subtext, but it’s not done effectively enough to leave a viewer satisfied. The writing is so poor that Maria’s reflection is called Airam. That should tell you more than enough about Assaf Bernstein’s script. Worth a watch if you’re really, really bored, but one you shouldn’t feel bad about missing.

Personal: * *     Acting: * *     Writing: * *     Presentation: * *

Overall Rating: * *

 

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