Dir: Michael Winterbottom, 2013
As a pioneer of “girlie” magazines, Paul Raymond is a legend among publishers and the adult entertainment industry.
As the owner of several clubs in Soho, Raymond had an eye for what the public wanted; sex and naked girls.
But he also had an eye for the ladies, himself and regularly partook in orgies and drugs.
At least, that’s what The Look Of Love depicts.
Based on the biography of Raymond, Member’s Only, Winterbottom’s biopic doesn’t, entirely, get a grip on the publishing king’s character and can’t make its mind up on how to portray him.
Steve Coogan is Raymond, playing him as mild mannered and placid. A sort of, gentleman’s pornographer. Certainly a far cry from Sleaze of Soho, David Sullivan.
But, Coogan can’t play him. He comes across as a character from a comedy show. There isn’t anything believable in the portrayal. The Alan Partridge actor is even given a chance to display an impression of Sean Connery.
But, maybe, this was the angle that Winterbottom was going for; a kind of comical pastiche of the stereotypical porn mogul.
The film is too haphazard and intermittent. People come and go in quick succession without giving the viewer any chance to get involved. It’s fast paced with the timeline, introducing and just as quickly disposing of events.
Stunningly beautiful, Tamsin Egerton has, what amounts to, a rather short and unsatisfying screen time as Raymond’s lover, the infamous Fiona Richmond. Egerton’s performance as the soft core sex star, doesn’t have the appeal that the genuine Richmond had and isn’t adept enough to allow us to believe that she could capture the hearts of, horny, British men.
The tone of the film is farcical which belies its intent to be biographical.
Anna Friel is very underused as Raymond’s first wife and needed to be in the film more.
However, the casting of Imogen Poots as Raymond’s daughter, Debbie, was a serious blunder in the casting department’s side. Wooden and drippy, Poots cannot bring anything interesting to the film except irritation and a headache from her whiny voice.
I don’t know if it really is her singing but, if it is, then she needs to give it up as a bad job.
The Look Of Love had real potential but is let down by a confused directie and poor casting.