Review: Life Through The Lens


Richard Winston and Jerald Freestone, two well known film critics, are in search for a way onto the big screen. Their intense film watching begins to erode their hold on reality. Jerald succumbs to the extremities of delusion putting pressure on Richard to maintain a balance.

Life Through The Lens is written by Kent Olsen and features the illustrations of Sabine ten Lohuis. Olsen wrote and self published the story of film critics Richard and Jerald from Chicago. Olsen described the story as setting up “a world full of film references and looks into how film critics view films, and in doing so, how film influences our lives.”

Olsen starts the story on New Year’s in the Chicago abode of Richard and Jerald. We see their apartment full of scattered DVDs, booze, and a scantily clad young lady. The two are watching a commentary on Titanic, which parallels their story as well. The second half of the first issue is set in the studio of their film review show. Think Roger and Ebert. The two disagree about a particular movie. One sees the experimental, artsy, indie film as genius while the other has witty remarks and puns about how bad it is. Throughout the entire issue, you see how these two bond and what kind of relationship they have.

The story has a tiny touch of Kevin Smith’s film Clerks. You have two buddies who are obsessed with films and always have a line from a movie to say at just the right time. Richard and Jerald play well off of each other and really bring the bond between them to the forefront of the issue. For this issue at least, they are opposites in their tastes for films, they fight like brothers, but they come back together like friends. The story is interesting, but it will appeal mostly to students of film and philosophy.

The art by Sabine ten Lohuis is a perfect match for the story being told. It is traditional, yet modern looking. There aren’t a lot of colors. There are splashes of reds and pinks, but the issue is mainly greys, whites, and blacks. It all feels very hip.

Bottom Line: Olsen and ten Lohuis have crafted an interesting cerebral story about film critics. The plan is to make this a multi-issue story, and it seems worthy of more entries. This isn’t a book that is going to appeal to everybody, but if you’re a film buff or are a student of film or philosophy, it is well worth reading. To learn more about Life Through The Lens or to get a copy, you can check out Sabine ten  Lohuis’ website by clicking here. If you’re hip to this scene, the score is 4/5.

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