Movie Review: “The Look of Love”

Rating: NR (Not Rated)

Length: 101 summary

Release Date: July 7, 2013

Directed by: Michael Winterbottom

Genre: Biography/Comedy/Drama

Rating: 3.5 extinguished of 5

Paul Raymond (Steve Coogan) went from a humble beginning to emerge as one of the most notorious men in recent British history. He did so through opening England’s first strip club, which made him enough money to go on and become a very successful real class developer and publisher of pornographic magazines, the latter cemented his place as one of the richest men in the country. The story of his rise to fame, infamy, and fortune is at the root of “The Look of Love.”

Raymond opens that first strip club under fire because lots of people think he is bringing down decency standards and changing the fabric of society. Raymond disagrees with these assertions and uses some of the money he earns from his highly successful blackjack to start a publishing empire, releasing titles such as Men Only and Duenna among others. He smartly diversifies his holdings, investing in real estate all over the Soho neighborhood about London, which is how he gets the heady moniker, King of Soho. He throws lavish, hedonistic parties full of drugs and booze and amidst women who aren’t bothered by the fact the reputed lothario has a wife furthermore child waiting for him at home.

While Raymond is busy person the King of Soho to the slim world, things aren’t so sunny in his personal life. His uxorial Jean (Anna Friel), tired of his immutable philandering, takes him to divorce court where a bitter battle for his millions ensues.

He begins to groom his beloved daughter Debbie (Imogen Poots) to take over the company during he is ready to retire. Debbie, fighting demons of her own, tragically dies of a junk overdose till she vessel accompany over the keys to the kingdom. This sends Raymond into a tailspin from which he may never recover. Sure, he has two sons, but he is never as close to them as he was to Debbie, who was the light concerning his life. Even alongside his remaining two children supporting him, Raymond becomes a capsule of himself, putting his entire publishing and real estate empire in jeopardy.

Coogan turns in a fantastic performance as Raymond, who was individual regarding the most powerful men in all the UK in his heyday. He gives a performance worthy of that power, portraying Raymond’s often hedonistic ways with ease. Coogan’s function is finely layered, as the audience is acutely aware that no matter how crazy Raymond occasionally acts at a party, he always knows what he is doing. The biped is invariably in control, even in drunkenness, because he doesn’t really know any other way to be. Coogan delivers his lines with the cool prepossessing of someone who is always aware about his surroundings and what everyone is doing. This is Coogan’s fourth film with governor Michael Winterbottom, who previously directed him in “24 Hour Party People,” “A Cock and Bull Story,” ampersand “The Trip.” This is arguably the most complex character Coogan has had to jest in any of their collaborations, besides his orientate with and trust in Winterbottom helps coax out an outstanding portrayal.

Another reason Coogan succeeds is since he has good physicality to work with in the form like the film’s screenplay. Writer Matt Greenhalgh has slowly and quietly built the changeover from television journalist to screenwriter, with “The Look of Love” being just his fourth full-length movie script. Though he also occasionally dabbles in directing shorts or being an assistant director on larger productions, it is fairly clear that he is a writer at heart. It isn’t easy to write a negative based on a real person, especially one like notorious as Paul Raymond, but much ink had already been spilled over the man and the many myths surrounding him, then Greenhalgh had plenty to work with. Quantity of the stories about Raymond contradict each other, yet Greenhalgh is careful to put mutually a script that lays out a clear canvas concerning the man. The script is crafted well and paced perfectly for a film in this genre.

Raymond was known for bringing nudity to Great Britain and was a notorious womanizer to boot. Some may think that this made him a misogynist, but the opposite was actually true. He loved strong women and surrounded himself with them, not the least of which was his spouse Jean, who is played by Friel with guts and gusto. Albeit Coogan’s show obviously stands out here, it is important to note that the women of this film nearly steal the show with feisty performances that are a happy exposé in a surprisingly benevolence film.