Award winning director Michael Winterbottom re-teams up with Steve Coogan to tell the story of Paul Raymond the man formally known as “The Richest Man in Britain” for his gentlemen clubs and work in the adult entertainment industry. The story shows us the obstacles he faced along the way to his frowned upon empire in Look of Love. And though Coogan’s name leads the way, be sure to note that this is NOT a comedy. It’s a drama with a number of witty lines and comedic moments, that ultimately tells the story of charismatic man’s climb to the top and what he lost on the way…
- Director: Michael Winterbottom
- Screenwriter: Matt Greenhalgh
- Cinematographer: Hubert Taczanowski
- Starring: Steve Coogan, Anna Friel, Imogen Poots, Tamsin Egerton
Paul Raymond, known as the “King of Soho”, decides to revamp London’s 1950’s adult entertainment industry with a chain of classier gentleman’s clubs and magazines. His shoot to fame leads to a failed marriage, troubled children, and negative press, along with one very personal tragedy.
- The Ladies: In a film all about a charismatic, rich, lecherous highly successful business man, surrounded by topless women, it was lovely to see so many strong female performances. Anna Firel, Imogen Poots ann Tamsin Egerton, all did more than just look good naked, they created strong, interesting, dynamic characters that really made this film so strong.
- The Topic: Aside from all the naked women, covering someones life is always tricky and can be tiring for an audience. They tackled the topic in a very balanced way, and did a great job at showing numerous vast moments in his life, and hinting at where it all comes from without spelling it out. Which in turn allowed for them to cover far more than a normal bio-picture and let the audience do some of the work on their own.
- Coogan/Winterbottom: The two are equally as unpredictable in their film choices and both create characters that few filmmakers would table. It was lovely to see them together again and giving this story life.
- No Heart: It’s hard to watch a character, who while entertaining, really does nothing good with his life. He spends his time getting laid and never really taking care of anyone else, and the one big devastation in his life, it’s hard not to see coming. Paul Raymond is a strong character, and though it was clear what drove him and what we wanted in life, I never cared about him or for him on any level and therefore couldn’t really feel much for the film.
I left this film feeling moderately entertained but not really effected. This was one of those films that was just fine, but other that all the nudity (which can only take one so far), there wasn’t much about it that was outside of the box.
This film could use a little trimming and sprucing up around the edges, and hopefully it will before it gets released. It’s a fun ride, but by no means something that will blow you away.