LAS VEGAS -- Contending that at any given time there are about 30 million surveillance cameras on covert display in the U.S. alone, filmmaker Adam Rifkin incorporates a few dozen of them in "Look," a skillful examination of the things people do when they think no one's looking.
Shot from the POV of those security cameras, the clever picture, which took home the Grand Jury Prize from this year's CineVegas Film Festival, blends sharp satire with Orwellian chills to intriguing effect.
Given its long-standing eye-in-the-sky reputation with all that security surveillance, it's entirely fitting that Rifkin's film was handed its world premiere in Las Vegas, though it's set in Los Angeles.
But these days, it could have been anywhere.
"Look" neatly interweaves stories that unfold in front of the unblinking lenses of clandestine recording devices perched in department store fitting rooms, convenience stores, hotel elevators, ATMs, police car dashboards, school parking lots and even living rooms, keeping tabs on would-be shoplifters, child predators, abusive nannies and others behaving badly. The film forces us to see the 24/7 reality of our increasingly voyeuristic society.
While others have attempted to pull off similar high-concept productions -- Mike Figgis' "Timecode" immediately comes to mind -- writer-director Rifkin, whose screenwriting credits include the Walt Disney Co.'s upcoming "Underdog," really makes it all work.
Bringing together a talented ensemble of little-known working actors playing an assortment of promiscuous teens, randy store employees, cop killers and closeted family men, Rifkin and cinematographer Ron Forsythe have concocted a nifty Big Brother scenario that practically dares you to look away.