Look both ways
Watt illustrates the internal emotions that the characters have, such as anxiety, suspicion and despair. These recurring, mental Images cause both Merely and Nick, to live life In fear of death. When Nick was diagnosed with cancer, he immediately saw his life flashing past him in the form of a photometer.
Watt uses these montages to describe Nick’s fear of death and that though he may seem in control on the outside, he is actually feels alone, confused and anxious that his life will end the same way his father’s did.
His fear of cancer and his assumption that he won’t survive his battle with cancer causes him to give up and therefore not live life, since he would die soon anyway. He therefore does not participate In his regular activities such as work and cricket with enthusiasm, and is unable to be happy and live life fully. Merely also struggles with her visions of potential threats everywhere she goes. The vivid images of knife attacks and robbers shooting her cause her to feel nervous and to live in suspicion of everyone around her.
This is evident when Merely becomes anxious when Nick asks her for her phone number, even though they were Intimate the night before. This shows that due to her fear of the worst-case scenario occurring, she struggles to embrace life, take risks and form relationships, which are essential in life. Watt also demonstrates how past experiences of death can have an impact on the individual’s perspective of their own life and death. Nick reflects on his father’s battle with cancer in fear that he too will suffer and not survive.
His memories of his father struggling to complete dally activities such as going to the toilet cause Nick to become even more worried, since he is so sure that because his father didn’t survive. He wouldn’t either. He also doesn’t willingly involve himself with Merely in fear that she too will suffer as much as his mum did, when his father was ill. Due to his fear of suffering, Nick gives up and develops negative thoughts and feelings towards others and his life.
On the contrary, his mother Joan had a positive view and explained that it doesn’t matter how life ends, It’s how it was. ‘ His mother chose to remember the happy moments In her husband’s life and know that though her husband did suffer tremendously, he did enjoy his life and live It fully. These two characters developed opposite attitudes towards the death of their loved one. Watt shows that this is turn affected how they viewed their future. Like Nick, Merely also looks towards the negative side of life.
Her tendency to see danger and death wherever she goes is the cause of her negative emotions towards fife and fear of death. She therefore Is unable to take risks, In the fear that the worst- case scenario will occur. This is the reason why she is awkward around Nick. Even though she likes him, she is still fearful that she could get hurt as the result of the relationship. When she explains to Nick that her father’s death was ‘the natural order of things,’ and ‘that it was meant to be,’ Watt demonstrates that Merely does not take control of her own life.
This Is why Merely Just accepts her fear of death and taking attitude, Merely is unable to live a relaxed life; she is constantly “looking both ways”. Although the film centers on death, Watt’s film is a positive affirmation about life. She maintains a clear message that despite all the negativity in the world, we need to reunite with our loved ones so that we can pursue our fears with renewed hope and optimism. Merely and Nicks connection and strong bond is a clear example of the need for connection and warmth as a result of experiencing similar tragedy and despair.