Netflix
Clark Collis
December 01, 2017 AT 04:05 PM EST

Voyeur

type
Movie
genre
Documentary
release date
12/01/17
broadcaster
Netflix

We gave it an A-

This documentary details the writing and troubled publication of journalist Gay Talese’s 2016 book The Voyeur’s Motel, about a Colorado motel owner named Gerald Foos and the decades he spent spying on guests from the building’s attic. “They couldn’t hear me, they couldn’t see me,” Foos explains at the start of Voyeur, which is directed by Myles Kane and Josh Koury. “But I could hear them and see them. It’s been a secret all these years. It’s been a secret for 47 years.”

Is Foos an out-an-out creep or, as he believes, some sort of amateur anthropologist cataloging the behavior of his guests/unknowing subjects? We’ll let viewers make up their own minds about that, but, especially given the wave of sexual misconduct allegations currently blanketing the news, it’s hard to imagine too many people taking Foos’ side. Talese himself clearly regards this twisted tale as a likely career highpoint for the writer, whose previous credits include penning the groundbreaking 1966 Esquire profile “Frank Sinatra Has a Cold” and 1981’s eyebrow-raising Thy Neighbor’s Wife, a look at America’s sex culture. The problem for Talese is not his subject’s deeds but, it turns out, Foos’ unreliable relating of them, a state of affairs which ultimately threatens to destroy the journalist’s reputation.

Kane and Koury secured extraordinary access to both Talese and Foos. Even when the latter is complaining about the writer’s depiction of him he continues to let the pair shoot, seemingly oblivious to the fact that he has not more control over the documentary than he does Talese’s book. The result is a remarkable profiling of two people who, Voyeur suggests, have far more in common than either would imagine. A-

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