Voyeur (2017)

Voyeur

Photo courtesy of Netflix

If you want to know what the word voyeur means you could look it up in the dictionary, or you could just watch the documentary Voyeur and its subject matter, motel owner Gerald Foos. Foos bought a motel in Colorado, built a walkway in the attic and then installed vents in the ceiling, which didn’t do anything other than give Foos access to the rooms. From his perch in the attic, he could look down on his unsuspecting victims watching them live their lives. Foos did this for decades, and then he contacted legendary journalist Gay Talese in 1980. He told Talese that “I have to tell someone because I don’t want to die, and it be lost forever.” Talese, an inquisitive man by nature, starts up dialogues with Foos, thinking he could get at least a New Yorker article out of the man, and if the story is compelling enough, a book.

Filmmakers Myles Kane and Josh Koury filmed these conversations over the years as the two men talked about what Foos did and saw. Yes, the story is about a man who was addicted to watching other people, but it’s also about Gay Talese, how he views the world and how he interviews his subjects. The film uses photographs (some of which contains nudity), miniatures, and re-creations (always from Foos point of view) to give you an idea of what Foos saw and heard.

Voyeur

Photo courtesy of Netflix

Both men are similar; they collect things; Talese collects stories (which he keeps in a converted wine cellar), and Foos collects ordinary stuff like baseball cards and coins. However, both men feel that they are also researchers into the human condition. At one point to convince Foos that Talese is the right one for the job he tells Foos “I am a voyeur myself.” It is a strange and captivating friendship, with Foos sloppily dressed into tight pullover shirts and giant tinted glasses and Talese in custom-made suits as they talk about why Foos did what he did. The conversations are fascinating, mostly because Foos is so proud of what he did because he thinks of his voyeurism is simply research to try to understand ever-evolving America.

The first half of the film is the conversations between Foos and Talese full of strange tales of what went on in that motel night after night. The film drags a bit as you get tired of Foos patting himself on the back proud of what he “accomplished.” The second half of the film is much more compelling when the film takes a turn you don’t see coming and becomes a completely different movie. I won’t give away what happens, but it’s pretty shocking and makes for some incredibly intense moments.

Voyeur

Photo courtesy of Netflix

The camera work by Cristobal Moris, in this film, is imaginative as the camera peers from bookcases to watch Talese work in his office, reminiscent of Foos looking down on his victims through the vents in his crawlspace. The music by Joel Goodman, is well placed and helps build tension when needed, especially in the second half of the film. I wish the editing was a little tighter as a few of Foos stories get a little tedious.

Voyeur isn’t just about a sad little angry man who watched people from a dark crawlspace and wants to brag about it. It’s also about an iconic journalist who might have more in common with the voyeur that he would readily admit. I enjoyed this film, but I kept having a creepy feeling that just maybe I was the voyeur, that Foos and Talese were my unwitting victims.     My Rating: Bargain Matinee 

My movie rating system from Best to Worst:  1). I Would Pay to See it Again  2). Full Price  3). Bargain Matinee  4). Cable  5). You Would Have to Pay Me to See it Again

Voyeur is currently available on Netflix.

Voyeur Website

For more of Mike’s reviews and interviews click here

 

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