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Michael Crichton ("Disclosure," "Jurassic Park," TV's "ER") wrote and directed this smart, high-tech thriller that delves into just how profitable supermodels can be, once you're rid of the models. Plastic surgeon Albert Finney ("The Dresser," "Orphans") goes after big business execs (Oscar-winner James Coburn -- "Maverick," and Emmy Award-winner Leigh Taylor-Young -- "Picket Fences") when he realizes his glamorous young patient Susan Dey ("L.A. Law," "Love and War") is next in line for computerized cloning -- and murder.]]>
Someone is killing the supermodel clients of Hollywood plastic surgeon Albert Finney, and because this is a Michael Crichton movie, there has to be a pop-techno-scientific reason for it. Welcome to the daffy world of Looker, a 1981 film that manages to blend one or two interesting cultural ideas with a dismal storyline and a wonderfully cheesy early-Reagan-era look. The trail of murders leads to a corporation called Digital Matrix (Crichton always was prophetic about naming things), where head honcho James Coburn has launched a nonsensical plan involving TV commercials and mind control. Accused of the model deaths, Finney must track down the real culprit, aided by client Susan Dey (in her most appealing non-TV role). There's also a crazy "light gun" that causes victims to black out, a device that leads to some very strange shoot-outs. All of this might have been fun if the movie had any kind of suspense or distinctive characters. Albert Finney made this the same year he did Wolfen, after a hiatus from movie acting--a pair of eccentric choices, to be sure. Adding to the silliness is a truly wretched theme song, made the way they made 'em in the early '80s. --Robert Horton
- Introduction and commentary by Michael Crichton
- First-time widescreen video release
- Theatrical trailer
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Looker (1981 release on VHS): Dr. Larry Roberts (Albert Finney) is a plastic surgeon to the stars, but when some of his supermodel clients start turning up dead under mysterious circumstances, Roberts decides to investigate, since murder is bad for business.
Roberts quickly discovers that all clues lead to Digital Matrix, the ominous corporate entity that has contracted many of his clients. Digital Matrix CEO John Reston (James Coburn) is found to be employing new technology to evil ends for his ad agency. Lisa Convey (Terri Welles), a model turns up dead after her plastic surgery. Now Cindy Fairmont (Susan Dey) goes to Dr. Robert's with the same idea as Lisa Convey, the previous model. She wants to be perfect. Can Dr. Larry Roberts save her before it's too late?
Big business is cashing in on beautiful bodies while making sure they become just that --bodies. Computers are being used to replace "Lookers" with digital counter-parts who have visited the same plastic surgeon that gives them their looks --right down to the millimeter.
The technology portrayed in this film (circa 1981) was and is still (somewhat) high-tech for today. The scene where a security system is circumvented even after stealing a card with limited access (you have to watch carefully for it) is priceless.
A special 'gun' which uses light as a non-violent weapon is one of the reasons why I thought this movie was "light years" (pun intended) ahead of its time. Over a decade before the first wave of kids in Japan were seized by Pokemon.
If you grew up watching the Partridge Family, it is also the first time you get to see some of Susan Dey in a different light. This is a great film to watch when nothing else comes to mind --it will certainly give you things to think about.
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