While the “mirror and twisted reality” plot has been done to death since the day of the Twilight Zone, Director Assaf Bernstein (The Debt 2007, Fauda 2015) looks for a way to reinvigorate the style with a unique take on an old idea in his new film Look Away.
Opening in select theaters on Friday, October 12, 2018 and making its way On Demand at the same time, Look Away follows an 18 year old girl, Maria (India Eisley: Headspace 2005, My Sweet Audrina 2016), who is depressed and unhappy with the way her current life has been going. Her father, Dan (Jason Issacs: The Harry Potter series, Peter Pan 2003), who is a plastic surgeon, always seems to weigh in on her physical appearance causing her to do irrational things such as losing weight even though she is already thin.
Quite troubled, Maria also does not sleep all too well because school and home life are just too unbearable for her to deal with. It does not help that her best friend, Lily (Penelope Mitchell: Hemlock Grove series, Curve 2015), seems to be drifting away from her over the years and a boy named Mark (John C. MacDonald: A Dog’s Purpose 2017, Hallow in the Land 2017), who bullies her at school, is not making life any easier for the high school girl.
Meanwhile, Maria’s mother (Mira Sorvino: Romy and Michelle’s High school Reunion 1997, The Replacement Killers 1998) tries to help, she has her own demons to deal with as she tries to help her daughter cope with life’s challenges. This ultimately leaves her feeling alone until an unlikely ally named Airam comes in to free her from her burden of a life. The deal though comes at a price, and it becomes more of a trap than a break from her life’s problems.
A strong cast, everyone involved with Look Away portray their characters amazingly, as most of the actors already hold a certain pedigree when it comes to the roles they play. From Issacs’ perfect depiction of the permissive idealist father to Sorvino’s well done performance of a deeply troubled and depressed mother, there is no shortage of star quality in this film. Eisley’s portrayal of the modest and insensible Maria to the confident, as well as the rage-driven Airam, and MacDonald’s realistic portrayal of the school bully, really take the plot further, making it much more believable.
Aiding the solid acting, the cinematography work of Pedro Luque (Don’t Breathe 2016, Extinction 2018) also does wonders, giving Maria a claustrophobic environment at home and at school that she cannot escape from. Additionally, the great score by Mario Grigorov (Flowers in the Attic 2014, The Evil Within 2017) builds tension that is riddled throughout the film.
That in mind, while Look Away is about one individual yearning to get out of a toxic situation, the theme goes far beyond, showing that when you are consumed by pain and anger it will most likely lead to your downfall. Bernstein set out to develop a strong good versus evil subplot to further deepen the films message, and it works well. As a director, he shows he is more than capable of producing a film with a theme that really challenges what a Psychological Thriller can accomplish if done right.
All in all, there are some truly great moments in Look Away, but there are also others that feel rushed or times where the violence overtake the plot. Worth checking out, CrypticRock gives this film 4 out 5 stars.