In the film Looking Glass, Nicolas Cage (Leaving Las Vegas (1995), Ghost Rider: Spirit of Vengeance (2011)) and Robin Tunney (The Mentalist, My All American (2015)), play Ray and Maggie, a husband and wife who recently lost a child and are still grieving. In the hopes of restarting their life they purchase a motel from a guy named Ben Harling who was offering the place for sell via a Craigslist ad.
Night Owls Sleep Here
Initially, Maggie isn’t giving Ray any touch in the bedroom and it’s not hard to see why; he reneged on a promise he made her and she’s striking back with the most powerful weapon she has at her disposal. This leaves Ray with a rabid case of lusting, so much so that he even has dreams of being mounted by the motel’s cleaning lady. This state of affairs leads to the film’s launching point which entails a horny Ray discovering a secret passageway leading behind motel room number 10. There, he climbs a placed ladder that brings snooping parties to what turns out to be a one-way mirror. Ray should have mosied his ass back out of the area, told his wife about the hokey setup, and promptly had it dismantled.
But Ray didn’t do that and thus we have our film.
A Mixed Bag
Cage, was more or less Cage, in the scenes where he didn’t try to emote creepy old man he was fine, when he did, it looked like it caused him physical pain. Though I admit, garnering this emotion from an individual who has likely slept with hundreds of women with little effort…is a big ask.
Tunney, now 45, looks pretty damn good and is still willing to show some skin, which she does. For the red-blooded males out there, this is likely the films biggest selling point and no doubt the sole reason it was put there. In addition, Tunney, an acting pro, handily conveys a wife who grows increasingly distraught with the bizarre situation she and her husband find themselves in.
Marc Blucas, whom I haven’t seen since Buffy The Vampire Slayer plays Sheriff Howard Keller. Howard starts off much like Blucas’s character Riley, a wholesome country boy in the Joss Whedon vampire series but Blucas gradually turns up the crazy dial as if to remind the world…hey, I can act too you know! How successful he is with this endeavor I’ll leave for others to determine.
“It was sociology, it was the study of people.” — Ben Harling
The other cast however, ranged from stale to downright laughable when it came to delivering their lines. One exchange between Ray and a fella I nicknamed mister squinty made Cage’s performance seem downright Pacino-esque by comparison.
A Directionless Affair
Events in the film often reminded me of Hitchcock…but executed poorly. Some scenes seemed left to play out when they should have been done over; as if they couldn’t afford to do otherwise given budget constraints. Voyeur scenes that should have been erotic don’t quite hit their mark. Whether or not this was because of the milquetoast sex-play going on or the too-often cuts to Cage’s face who seemed to be doing his best gasping fish impression. Not to mention it gave the viewer a close inspection of his implausibly gray-less beard…how long is Cage going to pretend his is 35?
It’s almost as if some of the actors were told this was a film noir and others were not. The juxtaposition of the two making for disjointed dialogue moments. All in all, it’s an odd film that can’t quite decide if it wants to be a dirty B movie or tepid made-for-TV fare. It, instead, nestles itself within a lukewarm middling point that unfortunately fails to justify its existence. A scene where Ray pulls into a handicapped parking spot seems more of a Freudian slip regarding the director Tim Hunter than the character of Ray.
2 out of 5 stars
One good thing about this film, aside from some nudity from Tunney, is that it is pretty much SJW free…so there’s that.