Film review: Look Both Ways (2005)

A heart-felt (and overlooked) Australian independent film that tackles the subject of death in a unique way. Death that for many people is difficult to put into words and talk about and deal with. But the film is not preachy, morbid or negative, quite the opposite!

Even though it’s a contemporary story, it has a timeless quality I think, as the story could take place anytime or anywhere in the world, and still mean something to people, because the subject matter is universal. About ordinary people dealing with death.

Stream-of-consciousness creative animation scenes worked well, I thought, as they give an insight into what the characters are feeling and thinking. But be warned, they are fast-paced and not for everyone, and will likely appeal more to the MTV generation. Apparently first time movie director Sarah Watt has been a writer-director of animation for 15 years. The last animation at the end of the film was the only one I thought should have been made like an ordinary scene.

The film can function for the viewer as a way of coming to terms with a person you have lost in your own life.

Seeing death in the newspaper reminded me of a powerful scene in David Lynch’s Wild at Heart (1990), where the couple listen to the car radio and are alarmed by all the violence in the world. It really does put you off following current events with all the death and destruction, why do we need to hear about all these negative news stories, they don’t make us happy or inspire us?

Look Both Ways has an ensemble feel to it like Magnolia or Short Cuts, but the multiple stories are told well enough that I got to know and care what happened to the main characters. Perhaps this approach was chosen, because people cope with death in many different ways?

I didn't think the film completed what happened to every character at the end, though, which is one of the few critical things I have to say.

And you should track down the soundtrack, really good!

Other films dealing with loss and death, which are OK, but not as good in my opinion: The seventh seal, On the edge, Imaginary heroes.

I give it an 8/10



Readers, any thoughts on Look Both Ways?


  1. Is that an animation scene (the color drawing one) ?

  2. @ Andina : Yes, a kind of animation. Very unique style, which you don't often see. Check out the trailer, gives you an idea.

  3. Always interested to see unique animation. I could catch this.


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