Sydney Sweeney, Justice Smith, Ben Hardy, Natasha Liu Bordizzo
Ironically, The Voyeurs gives the impression that it’s a film made by someone who has suffered from the pernicious effects of excessive porn-watching.
Pippa and Thomas are a young, winsome couple in their late 20s: she’s a budding ophthalmologist, he’s a freelance composer specialising in commercial jingles. Soon after settling in their new, high-rise studio apartment in Montreal, they discover that their windows peer directly in an exquisitely-proportioned, unnaturally-attractive couple’s apartment ‘across the way’. Their neighbours are unknowing exhibitionists (either that, or humble objectors to the concept of curtains), and their every move is readily visible to Pippa and Thomas.
At first, Pippa and Thomas spy on their neighbours out of harmless curiosity, observing their carnal escapades (which are both plentiful and intense) with as much investment as the volatile, everyday dramas of their relationship (also plentiful and intense). When Pippa buys binoculars, their viewing parties even provide some sexual inspiration for their own, stagnating sex-life — taking the Old Testament’s ‘Love thy neighbour as thyself’ to another level. Soon, however, sexual fantasy takes hold of Pippa, and what began as a harmless hobby turns into something of a ruinous obsession — maybe, wethinks, this will be an allegory for porn? How clever, wethinks, how clever indeed.
We soon find out that the man from across the way is quite the philanderer, one who unfailingly seduces his models (oh yes, he’s a top-notch photographer who works from his living room and exclusively with shirtless women) into sleeping with him after every shoot — scenes to which, it must be said, the filmmaker dedicates more time (and we mean time, not care) than any others. Now, just as monsters don’t necessarily make a film scary, and an abundance of jokes don’t ensure a film’s comedic merits, nor does an indulgence in drawn-out, subtlety-free sex scenes make a film sexy — that’s when we’re getting into smutty territory.
Here, we’re reminded of the Seinfeld episode wherein Jerry visits a Catholic priest so as to dob on his dentist, Dr Whatley, who having only just converted to Judaism is already making Jewish jokes: ‘and this offends you as a Jew?’ asks the priest with genuine concern; ‘no, this offends me as a comedian!’ responds Jerry — and cue the canned laughs… In the case of The Voyeurs, we didn’t find the abundance of artless sex-scenes offensive on a moral level, but more-so as a humble practitioner/enthusiast/critic of film.
Ironically, The Voyeurs gives the impression that it’s a film made by someone who has suffered from the pernicious effects of excessive porn-watching. Besides the innumerable plot-holes, shallow characters, laughable backstories and (at times) horrid acting, the narrative progresses rapidly, in what at first seems a thrilling, no-bullshit pace, but reaches its climax prematurely and with little control; so that the last act resembles a teenage boy frantically cleaning up his gluey mess before his mum comes home.