Look (2009) – By Matthew Saliba

Ah, the experimental narrative. What a bastard child of film genres this one is. While preoccupied with visually expounding on ideas about as accessible as a Michael Snow Retrospective, these films also try to ground themselves in the reality of story and structure. The end result is something that tends to alienate the experimental crowd who came in expecting a poetic mediation on why the left brain is evil and terrify the narrative folk who were expecting a quirky little twist in their otherwise Hollywood diet. I should know, I made a 24-minute experimental narrative short film about an old woman who gives birth to a giant toe.

And that’s precisely what "Look" is; an experimental narrative that examines the meaning of beauty vis a vis a young man named John (John Ferguson) who meets a homely barmaid named Emma (Starina Johnson) and is about to strike up a conversation when in walks a ravishing bombshell (Theresa Meeker) who asks for directions and leaves abruptly taking John with her. He follows her to a photo shoot and to her apartment, getting shut down each and every time. Eventually, he comes full circle and runs into Emma and presumably takes TLC’s words to heart that he shouldn’t go chasing waterfalls but rather, stick to the rivers and the lakes that he’s used to.

"Look" is directed with an exceptionally keen eye for detail and color by Ryan Pickett who certainly doesn’t skimp on the visuals. The film definitely feels like the "visual poem" the press release makes it out to be insofar as the cinematography (the film was shot on the Red One 4K camera) is stunning and the pacing of the film is almost dreamlike with some interesting sound design work where we catch snippets of conversation and the beginnings of dialogue before it fades out while the character is still speaking.

Ryan Pickett won an "Award of Merit" for "Best Student Film" in the 2009 Accolade Competition. While it may not have been for his gift of storytelling, it was certainly awarded for his strong command of visual metaphor and the ability to use film as a way to address social issues without being too Oliver Stone about it.

If you’re open-minded enough, you can view the film online at his website: http://www.ryanpickettproductions.com