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Lots of stuff is still broken, but at least reviews can now be looked up and read.
Look Both Ways (2005)

Look Both Ways (2005)

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Released 21-Jun-2006

Cover Art

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Details At A Glance

General Extras
Category Drama Main Menu Audio
Short Film-Living With Happiness: Sarah Watt
Interviews-Crew-Sarah Watt
Featurette-An Insight Into The Animation, Vfx, Editing And Music
Gallery-Animation And Artwork
Featurette-Study Guide
Theatrical Trailer-Original And International
Trailer-Three Dollars, The Bank, The Brush Off, Stiff, Kenny
Rating Rated M
Year Of Production 2005
Running Time 96:15 (Case: 100)
RSDL / Flipper Dual Layered
Dual Disc Set
Cast & Crew
Start Up Menu
Region Coding 1,2,3,4,5,6 Directed By Sarah Watt
Madman Entertainment
Starring Justine Clarke
William McInnes
Anthony Hayes
Lisa Flanagan
Andrew S. Gilbert
Daniella Farinacci
Maggie Dence
Edwin Hodgeman
Andreas Sobik
Sacha Horler
Case Amaray-Transparent-Dual
RPI $34.95 Music Amanda Brown

Video Audio
Pan & Scan/Full Frame None English Dolby Digital 2.0 (224Kb/s)
English Dolby Digital 5.1 (448Kb/s)
English Audio Commentary Dolby Digital 2.0 (224Kb/s)
Widescreen Aspect Ratio 1.78:1
16x9 Enhancement
16x9 Enhanced
Video Format 576i (PAL)
Original Aspect Ratio 1.85:1 Miscellaneous
Jacket Pictures No
Subtitles None Smoking Yes
Annoying Product Placement No
Action In or After Credits No

NOTE: The Profanity Filter is ON. Turn it off here.

Plot Synopsis

     At times I'm sure we all imagine catastrophic scenarios occurring during the blasé routine of our day-to-day lives. But what if this became an obsession and your whole life was consumed with these visions of mayhem and tragedy? Look Both Ways deals with such an obsession and of the coming to terms with our own delicate mortality. Far from dark and depressing, the film is rich in subtle humour, with the final scenes providing the viewer with an optimistic outlook while still retaining some ambiguity.

    Look Both Ways is the debut feature film for writer and director Sarah Watt. Sarah's body of work prior to Look Both Ways consists of short animated films, one of which, Living With Happiness, is presented as an extra on disc two. The relevance of this short film's inclusion on the DVD is plainly obvious when viewed, as it has significance to the basic premise of Look Both Ways.

    Sarah has used the art of animation and rapid, still image montages to convey the brief imaginary interludes of the film's characters. These wonderful animations and montages are seamlessly integrated with the live action and provide a unique element of fantasy while conveying the working of a character's imagination to the audience.

    The story of Look Both Ways unfolds over a three day period during a summer heatwave in the city of Adelaide. A group of lives are about to converge with tragic, yet quietly hopeful consequences.

    Nick (William McInnes) is an award winning newspaper photographer. On Friday he is given the devastating news that he has testicular cancer, which has also spread to his lungs. He must wait until Monday for further news from his specialist about the best form of treatment and to obtain an accurate assessment of his chances of recovery.

    Andy (Anthony Hayes) is a journalist from the same newspaper as Nick. He is informed by his girlfriend Anna (Lisa Flanagan) that she is pregnant with his baby. Initially, this isn't welcome news to Andy; he is already struggling to maintain a relationship with his two children from a previous marriage.

    Meryl (Justine Clarke ) is an artist returning home from her father's funeral. In her mind, Meryl sees herself dying horrible deaths in the midst of performing simple daily tasks. Walking beside the railway line, she sees the train de-rail and fall onto her. Crossing the road, she sees herself being hit by a speeding four wheel drive. These imaginary visions are brought into reality when Meryl is witness to a young man being struck and killed by a train.

    When Andy and Nick arrive to cover the tragedy for the newspaper, Nick assesses his surroundings and begins taking a series of photographs. He observes and captures the general commotion of the scene, the police interviewing Meryl, the distraught train driver (Andreas Sobik) and the emotional breakdown of the dead man's wife (Daniella Farinacci) at the very instant she realises the victim is in fact her husband.

    Nick and Meryl accidentally meet again the following day outside Meryl's house. The tragedy of the previous day is still at the forefront, especially with Nick's photo of the widow on the front page of the newspaper. The awkwardness of the situation is eased by the revelation that Nick and Meryl have both been visualising death on a constant basis. These two relative strangers subsequently provide each other with comfort in a time of vulnerability.

    As the intense summer heat beats down on the city, relationships new and old are tested and realisations of passed inadequacies are open to redemption.

    Devastated by Nick's cancer news, Phil (Andrew S. Gilbert), his newspaper editor and friend makes a conscious effort to quit smoking and spend more quality time with his young family.

    Andy is struggling with his moral dilemma of taking responsibility for Anna and the unborn baby. He is also having problems connecting with his two young children and communicating amicably with his ex-wife.

    While wrestling with the demons in his head, Nick must also decide whether to be honest about his illness with Meryl, while she determines if her impulsive relationship with Nick is well intentioned or inconsequential.

    On Sunday afternoon the heavens open with a torrential downpour of rain, cleansing and rejuvenating a tired city.

    Look Both Ways scored four Australian Film Institute Awards in 2005 including Best Film, Best Direction, Best Original Screenplay and Best Supporting Actor.

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Transfer Quality


    The video transfer for Look Both Ways is impressive.

    The film is presented in an aspect ratio of 1.78:1, which is 16x9 enhanced. The film's correct aspect ratio is 1.85:1.

    Despite the fact that there was just a hint of softness in the overall look of the film, sharpness levels were generally still excellent. Blacks were bold, clean and free of low-level-noise. The degree of detail in shadows was also outstanding.

    The colour palette used in the film is quite soft and subtle in its depiction of a hot Australian summer. This is in contrast to the generally strong and dark colours used in much of the animation. All colours were beautifully balanced on the disc, with no oversaturation issues.

    There are no MPEG artefacts in the transfer. No significant film-to-video artefacts were noticed and film artefacts were not an issue.

    Unfortunately there are no subtitles on the disc.

    The disc containing the film (disc one) is a single sided, dual layer disc. The layer change occurs at the beginning of a scene at 49:12 and is very obvious.

Video Ratings Summary
Shadow Detail
Film-To-Video Artefacts
Film Artefacts


    The audio transfer is also very impressive.

    There are three audio tracks available on disc one; English Dolby Digital 5.1 (448Kb/s), English Dolby Digital 2.0 (224Kb/s) and English Audio Commentary Dolby Digital 2.0 (224Kb/s).

     The dialogue in Look Both Ways  was clear and easily audible throughout the film.

    There were no apparent issues with audio sync.

     The original music score by Amanda Brown was difficult to pick from the wide selection of non-original songs that were nicely incorporated into the film.

     The surround channels were well used, providing just the right amount of enhancement without going overboard. All channels were used aggressively during the rapid fire montages and during the many brief animated interludes. The film's music and general ambient noise also benefited from sensible surround usage. Apart from the abovementioned interludes, other examples of the measured surround presence occur at 0:43 and 43:03 with passing trains and some crowd noise at a cricket match at 77:28.

    The subwoofer was reasonably active throughout the film, offering considerable enhancement to music and to the interlude scenes in particular.

Audio Ratings Summary
Audio Sync
Surround Channel Use


    The selection of extras are reasonably good, but a little undersized for a two disc set.


    The menus on both discs feature subtle animation, are 16x9 enhanced and highlight music from the film. Disc one features the entire song titled Crashing performed by Gersey. This song is the key piece of music in the film and is also well utilised in the menu.

Disc One Extras:

Audio Commentary - Sarah Watt (Director), Barbara Masel (Associate Producer ), William McInnes and Justine Clarke (Actors)

    A fairly basic commentary, but still worthy of a listen. Sarah, Barbara, William and Justine discuss and comment on many aspects of the film, including some humorous anecdotes. The audio recording level appeared to be very low on this commentary, as it required a substantial increase in volume to be able to hear and comprehend the discussion.

Original Theatrical Trailer (1:55)

International Trailer (1:49)

Madman Propaganda (Trailer Collection)

    Three Dollars (2:25) The Bank (2:01) The Brush Off (2:28) Stiff (2:29) Kenny (1:53)

Disc Two Extras:

Short Film - Living With Happiness (6:06)

    A neurotic mother must come to terms with her disaster anxiety, as she struggles with her constant thoughts of impending doom. This 2001 short animated film by Sarah Watt is very much a prelude to Look Both Ways, with the mother becoming the inspiration for the character of Meryl in the film. As was the case with Look Both Ways, Emma Kelly was a key player in the drawing and animation process for this short film.

An interview with Sarah Watt (9:06)

    Sarah discusses the more fundamental aspects of the film with footage from the film to highlight her comments.

Looking Closer (An insight into the animation, VFX, editing and music in Look Both Ways)  (21:35)

    As the title suggests, this piece looks at the more technical sides of the film. The discussion on the film's animation and rapid video montages was very informative. Those interviewed are Sarah Watt (Director), Peter Webb (VFX Designer / Supervisor), Emma Kelly (Animator) and Denise Haratzis (Editor).

Artwork Galleries

    Animation Artwork Gallery (1:51)

    A basic look at the artwork used in the animation scenes. This vision is accompanied by music from the film.

    Production Stills Gallery (4:49)

    The same concept as the above gallery, but this time we have both still photographs from the film and some behind-the-scenes images.

Study Guide (DVD ROM)

    This twelve page colour PDF complete with study activities was produced by ATOM (Australian Teachers of Media) and contains an interesting analysis of Look Both Ways. If you're a film student or if you love to get the absolute maximum from a film, this will make fascinating reading.

R4 vs R1

NOTE: To view non-R4 releases, your equipment needs to be multi-zone compatible and usually also NTSC compatible.

    At the time of this review there is no R1 version of Look Both Ways available.


    Look Both Ways reminds us all of our fragile mortality and the importance of making the most of opportunities. The combination of animation and still image montages breaks up the serious nature of the film and delivers some restrained humour, which prevents it from becoming overly dark.

    Look Both Ways joins the growing list of fine Australian dramas - highly recommended.

    The video and audio transfers are both impressive.

    The selection of extras is reasonable, but rather undersized for a two disc set.

Ratings (out of 5)


© Steve Crawford (Tip toe through my bio)
Friday, August 04, 2006
Review Equipment
DVDJVC XV-N412, using Component output
DisplayHitachi 106cm Plasma Display 42PD5000MA (1024x1024). Calibrated with THX Optimizer. This display device is 16x9 capable. This display device has a maximum native resolution of 1080i.
Audio DecoderBuilt in to amplifier/receiver. Calibrated with THX Optimizer.
AmplificationPanasonic SA-HE70 80W Dolby Digital and DTS
SpeakersFronts: Jensen SPX7 Rears: Jensen SPX4 Centre: Jensen SPX13 Subwoofer: Jensen SPX17

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