"A trio of future Kiwi screen stars smoke, smoulder, steal - and worse - in Scott Reynolds' serpentine short noir. Kane (Marton Csokas) and his Zambesi-clad woman on the side (Danielle Cormack) set about ripping off Kane’s rich wife (Jennifer Ward-Lealand) with bloody results. Writer/director Scott Reynolds and longtime partner in crime, cinematographer Simon Raby, serve notice of their talents - and inspirations - with heady lighting, deliberately shonky back projection, and opening titles right out of Hitchcock [Saul Bass inspired]. Muso Greg Johnson supplies the horns."
(NZ On Screen)
Fig.1 Scott Reynolds/Zee Films (1994), "A Game with No Rules" Aotearoa New Zealand, 35mm 16 minutes.
"Peeping Tom has been widely celebrated as one of the great films about looking, about consumption, about cinema, about art, about the artist, about the relation between the artist, the artwork and the audience, about the relation between looking and pleasure, looking and desire, looking and death, and so on. All very familiar stuff from Freudian and Lacanian psychoanalysis and film studies (the film's tailor-made for film studies - bring in some Freud here, some Bataille and de Sade there, add a little Lacan and Virillio, etc). The aggressive and violating camera, as Scorsese put it. And this is partly the problem with Peeping Tom. Like the films of Peter Greenaway or David Cronenberg, Peeping Tom is more like an academic essay about voyeurism and scopophilia, a join-the-dots lecture on the pleasures, risks and dangers of art. Plus, Peeping Tom employs the most stereotypical, cliched thriller/ murder mystery plot you can imagine: a young man, a loner, a misfit, introspective, morbid, an outsider figure, abused as a child, etc etc etc, who murders sexualized women (prostitutes and actresses), and is befriended by an innocent he cannot bring himself to corrupt or kill.
Powell attacks the subject of voyeurism and murder aggressively in the opening scenes: the close-ups on cameras, projectors and eyes, the mirrors and reflections, exaggerated sounds (the rattle of a projector, a dripping tap, a heartbeat, whispered voiceover), and his love of visual rhymes and puns (eyes, drinks, sticks and tripods). You can see Powell having a ball in orchestrating his elaborate camera moves, his erotic, sleazy mise-en-abyme, his film-within-a-film tropes (Powell playing the murderer's father and torturer in home movies which he shot himself), the multiple reflections, mirrors, lenses, cameras, projections and screens (every shot in Peeping Tom seems to have been lit by a raking, unfiltered, unflattering horizontal light). It's not that Powell isn't at the top of his game in Peeping Tom - in its way, Peeping Tom is every bit as inventive as Powell's best work - it's that the plot, the characters, the situations are so cheesy, predictable, and shallow.
Despite all this, though, Peeping Tom does have bite and a nastiness which age hasn't dimmed. Peeping Tom also still feels 'contemporary' in its psychoanalytic treatment of a serial killer plot which draws on prostitution, cinema, acting, and pornography. And the conceit of having a murder in the opening shots which's replayed a moment later over the credits is a tour-de-force (one of the film's best cinematic ideas, this says everything necessary, and economically, in the first five minutes)."
Media Art Net
A collage of Hollywood melodramas of the 1950s and 1960s, filmed directly from the television set. The constantly recurring motifs of suspense and clichés of plot make it possible to move seamlessly among scenes from different films with different protagonists: uneasy sleep, getting up, listening at the door, turning on the lights, being startled, etc.
In the montage, the movements and gestures of the actresses ? stars like Lana Turner, Tippi Hedren, and Grace Kelly? seem choreographed and planned for each other. The sound track (Dirk Schäfer) supports this effect with connecting passages of sound that imitate the stereotypes of the genre. The treatment concentrates the dramatic shift from the familiar to the eerie and shows how women become the victims of the voyeuristic glance of film.