The Look of Love is a 2013 biopic of Paul Raymond, a self made man dubbed ‘The King of Soho’ thanks to his enormous property empire which included numerous clubs, bars, strip clubs and theatres. Branching out later to pornographic magazines he became Britain’s wealthiest man in 1992 with an estimated worth of £650 million. The film takes us back to his beginnings as a small time entertainer who hit upon the idea of a private gentlemen’s club in which naked women would appear in live shows, something that was previously banned in the UK. From here the movie charts his rise, reaching the dizzy heights of drug addled fame before crashing down to personal disaster.
Behind the camera is Michael Winterbottom, a man capable of producing excellent work (24 Hour Party People, Trishna, The Trip) while his frequent collaborator Steve Coogan takes on the role of Raymond. The film features some delicious period detail and more naked women than you could shake a stick at so why did I find it all so dull?
Despite the lavish interior sets and attention to detail in costume and hair (both collar and cuffs), the film never grabbed me. I was extremely bored throughout and never really cared about any of the characters. Paul Raymond is a smooth talking self publicist who spends the film going from one gorgeous woman to another while his daughter Debbie (Imogen Poots) is portrayed as a spoiled, talentless daddy’s girl. Neither are particularly fun to be around and despite Coogan injecting a bit of humour into Raymond, I never missed them when they weren’t on screen. Raymond’s life was either not interesting or the film made it feel so. Considering he was a philandering, multi millionaire who owned Soho, I fear it’s the latter.