- Product Rating -

Art House Asshole : Voyeur

| October 13, 2017

Do you ever want to feel artistically superior to all of your friends? Maybe you are tired of your friends talking about how great the latest action film is and want to sound better.Maybe you want to impress your date with obscure film trivia. Maybe you think that knowing a lot about film history and art will somehow validate your meaningless existence and will replace that ever-growing pit in your heart that tells you that you don’t matter and no one cares about you/ Well don’t worry! Because I watch a bunch of art house films and can give you recommendations on what to watch and what to feel superior about! So without any delay, let’s get pretentious!

 

 

When I saw this film I had the uncomfortable experience of being possibly the only person, or one of the very few, who were in the audience who did not work on the film. When it started, it was the only screening I’ve ever been to where people not only applauded the distributor logos but also yelled and cheered. They were super into this film, which might have been why I wasn’t as big a fan of it as I might have been.

 

Voyeur is a documentary following journalist Gay Talese and his relationship with his subject Gerald Foos. Gerald Foos was a Colorado Motel Owner who used this motel as a way to spy and watch his guests without their knowledge. Part of me wants to say stop there and watch the film without getting spoiled. But honestly, there aren’t any major reveals that leave your jaw on the ground. It isn’t like The Imposter or Tickled where the plot twists and how you see them are important to the story. When the “plot twists” happen in the film, firstly you see them a mile away, and secondly, they don’t matter. There is a reveal a little after the middle of the third act, and it is surprising but ultimately doesn’t add or do anything with the film. The reveal happens then is almost immediately dropped. And I know this is a documentary and the purpose of a documentary is to show the audience “truth”. But at the end of the film, I was wondering why they would get even through that into the film. Other than to just fit the tone of the film.

 

The film follows the tone that you see in documentaries like The Imposter and Who Took Johnny. That being an overarching darkness being present throughout. Partly because Gerald Foos spied on his guest without their permission and went into detail about watching sex acts and murder. If you have seen enough documentaries of this nature, you know there is going to be a twist because that’s how docs with this tone work. There will be a big reveal toward the end of the film that will be shocking and come from nowhere. You don’t know what it is, but you know it’s coming. Which is why it bothers me that the tone is corrupted by the fact that the documentary filmmakers also try to get you to like Gerald Foos.

 

It might have been the entire audience I saw the film with. But throughout the film, the audience was laughing at almost everything Gerald Foos said. The film tried to get you to see him as this quirky character who was a little out there but was still kooky and fun. But that’s not who he is. Maybe I’m seeing the whole voyeur aspect a bit harsher than I should, but given how straightforward and proud of what he did, I am disgusted by Gerald Foos throughout the film. Which I feel they could have played up a bit more. But the entire film tries to get you on his side. Which I think is both wrong and deluded the film. It’s clear that Gay Talese liked him. There is a scene toward the end of the film which is genuinely the best scene of the film, where Talese can tell the filmmakers are trying to get a “gotcha” answer out of Foos and Talese calls the filmmakers out and mocks them for a solid five minutes. And Talese defends Foos throughout.

 

I think at the end of the day this film’s success is highly dependant on how you view the act of voyeurism. If you think it’s fine, or think it’s a minor crime that isn’t a big deal, then this film will work very differently than how I saw it. But the entire time I was creeped out and kind of hated Gerald Foos, and by extension Gay Talese for his alignment with Foos. But if you view the act differently you will see the film differently. That in itself makes it hard for me to review this fairly because I can see someone thinking this film is great and going along with what the filmmaker wants you to think. But that isn’t something I can do.

Voyeur is a well-made film with a murky message and a tonal problem throughout. I have already recommended this film to a few people, but as I said, you have to be careful with this film. Because at the end of the day if you read the description of this film and think that Gerald Foos is a creep, I don’t think the film will make you change your mind. But if you don’t think that already, this might be up your alley. It is all up to you.

 

Also, in this review, I have to include an image to be the featured image. No images exist of this film yet. Not even a poster. The film comes out next month and I’m sure there will be images then. But because of this, the image in the thumbnail for this film, is one of the pictures that comes up when you google “Horse Dragon”. Because I thought that would be radical.

About the Author:

Henry Jarvis is the youngest member of the Reel Nerds. His favorite films include Space Jam and Dude, Where’s My Car? and Lawrence of Arabia. He enjoys those pretentious art house films that Ryan hates. He sees a lot of movies! Honestly more than he should. He replaces his lack of social skills and meaningful friendships with his love of cinema! He’s also crying while he writes this biography for himself. His favorite directors are Andrei Tarkovsky, David Fincher, and David Lean.
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