- 1 hr 34 min
In 1981, Michael Crichton wrote and directed the science fiction thriller Looker, a film that explored the dark side of the modeling industry through the lens of advanced technology. The movie centers around Albert Finney's character, Dr. Larry Roberts, a successful Beverly Hills plastic surgeon who finds himself embroiled in a mysterious conspiracy after several of his patients are targeted by an unknown entity. As he tries to unravel the mystery, he discovers a sinister corporation called Digital Matrix, which has developed a groundbreaking technology that can create ultra-realistic 3D models of human beings.
Dr. Roberts soon learns that Digital Matrix is using these models for nefarious purposes, including creating simulations of popular TV personalities that are brainwashing the public with subliminal messages. The corporation is also involved in political manipulation and assassination, using lookalike models to carry out their dirty work. To make matters worse, they are willing to do whatever it takes to keep their activities hidden.
As Dr. Roberts seeks to expose Digital Matrix, he crosses paths with a host of intriguing characters, including James Coburn's John Reston, a rival surgeon with a dubious agenda, and Susan Dey's Cindy Fairmont, a model who becomes Roberts' ally after she is nearly killed by the corporation.
The film's central theme is the power of image and the danger of its manipulation. Digital Matrix's cutting-edge technology allows them to create photorealistic models that are indistinguishable from real people. This provides them with immense power to shape public opinion and even sway events such as elections. It also raises questions about the ethics of using such technology and the potential for abuse.
The film's visuals are striking and innovative, particularly in the scenes where the models are created and manipulated. The filmmakers used early computer graphics to create these sequences, which were groundbreaking for their time. They also utilized a technique called "Looker" that allowed them to manipulate the models' appearances in real-time, making them appear to be moving in slow motion.
Looker also features an engaging plot with enough twists and turns to keep audiences on the edge of their seats. The mystery surrounding Digital Matrix and their motives provides a compelling backdrop for the action. The film's pacing is a little uneven at times, with some scenes feeling flat or drawn-out, but overall it is an effective thriller.
The cast is solid, with Finney delivering a strong performance as the determined Dr. Roberts. Coburn is suitably menacing as Reston, and Dey is a capable ally who holds her own in the male-dominated world of the modeling industry. There are also several standout supporting performances, including those by Leigh Taylor-Young as Roberts' assistant, and Darryl Hickman as Digital Matrix's creepy spokesman.
Overall, Looker is an intriguing and engaging science fiction thriller that explores themes that are still relevant today. It may not be as well-known as some of Crichton's other works, such as Jurassic Park or Westworld, but it is a solid entry in his filmography and worth checking out for fans of the genre.
Looker is a 1981 science fiction movie with a runtime of 1 hour and 34 minutes. It has received poor reviews from critics and viewers, who have given it an IMDb score of 6.1 and a MetaScore of 20.