Years ago a friend tipped me off that if I ever go to Louisville, Ky., and stay in a particular hotel there is a room I should ask for because it has a peephole through which one can observe whatever hot things are going on in the room next door. I never got to Louisville but I did get to see “Voyeur” at the 2017 New York Film Festival. It is a documentary directed by Myles Kane and Josh Koury covering the second hand voyeuristic adventures of writer Gay Talese.
A problem with the film is that there is not much voyeurism in which we can indulge. Yes, a little. But there is more talk than action as Talese explores what he has been told by Gerald Foos, who bought a motel in Colorado in the 1960s. Foos boasts that he has set up a system that allows him to spy into hotel rooms from above, and he escorts Talese to view his handiwork.
Talese, who had known Foos for a long time was working on a book, “The Voyeur’s Motel” and there was even a pre-publication chapter in The New Yorker. But a time discrepancy occurred, which put a dent in Foos’s ownership account.
Talese talks at length about his research and what happened. He is an interesting raconteur and he is a renowned writer with an illustrious career and reputation. However, the film becomes long-winded and for a movie with its tantalizing title it doesn’t deliver very much for the viewer who would like to see more, and certainly for the confirmed voyeur. A Netflix release. Reviewed December 1, 2017.