2013 Running time: 97 Certificate: 18 Rating: 3
KA The Look Of Love

Synopsis

The depraved life of millionaire porn baron Paul Raymond is brought sleazily to life in director Michael Winterbottom's sordidly authentic biopic. Steve Coogan revels as the Liverpudlian mind-reader turned Soho landlord and tawdry impressario who could buy anything but the happiness of his daughter Debbie (Imogen Poots). Perfectly capturing the neon-lit glamour of grubby Berwick Street, this is a richly detailed study of an unloveable man for whom true contentment proved constantly elusive despite his riches.

Director

  • Michael Winterbottom

Cast

  • Steve Coogan

  • Anna Friel

  • Tamsin Egerton

  • Imogen Poots

  • David Walliams

  • Stephen Fry

Review

Devastating proof that money can't buy you happiness is delivered in this chronicle of the life of British porn baron and property emperor Paul Raymond.

The working class Liverpudlian became the richest man in Britain thanks to a sordid portfolio that took in risqué nude shows (Let's Get Laid was one), the top-shelf Men Only publishing empire and a hefty chunk of Soho property.

However, a blizzard of cocaine, magnums of champagne and an inability to resist his obliging showgirls ensured he destroyed any number of personal relationships.

The most significant was the bond he had with his adored daughter Debbie ...who died of an accidental heroin overdose aged just 36.

Director Michael Winterbottom's fourth collaboration with Steve Coogan (after 24-Hour Party People, A Cock and Bull Story and The Trip) sees the actor slipping seamlessly into the role of Raymond, a hardcore businessman with the flourish of a showman.

However, it's the trio of actresses - Anna Friel as his long-suffering wife, Tamsin Egerton as his sex columnist mistress Fiona Richmond and, most impressively, Imogen Poots as Debbie - that provide the story's emotional core.

Colourful support comes in the form of Chris Addison - who appears to be channelling DLT - as porn publisher Tony Power and David Walliams as an enlightened Soho vicar.

Coogan is given free rein to improvise and Winterbottom even grants his leading man the opportunity to gratuitously wheel out impressions of Sean Connery and Marlon Brando. There's also a fair bit of Alan Partridge in there as well.

Another highlight in a solidly fashioned tragi-comedy is the perfectly realised world of 70s Soho with a little help from Ronnie Scott's, Kettners and The French House.

Ultimately, despite the constant bed-hopping, drug mountains and Midas-levels of cash, the picture of Raymond that emerges is a victim of his sensational success.

Tim Evans

You may also like

Get Sky Upgrade