Review of “The Lookout” (2007) R 99min
January 29th, 2008 by Maxim · 1 Comment · 4,223 Views
This movie passed relatively unnoticed at the theatres: it wasn’t aggressively promoted, and other, bigger movies were also showing.
The plot: Chris (Joseph Gordon-Levitt) was once a great high-school hockey player, but after a car accident that kill two of his friends and Chris had a head injury that caused the short term memory loss. He takes special classes at the “center” to improve the quality of his life. The “center” arranged an apartment for him with another [blind] guy Lewis (Jeff Daniels) and found a janitor job for him at the framers’ bank in the rural area. Memory improvement classes go quite well, and Chris is hoping to get a better job at the bank. One day he is approached by a new friend Gary Spargo (Mathew Goode) who quickly wins Chris’s trust and even sets him up with a hot girl Lovlee (Isla Fisher). However Chris soon realizes that the recent events had been too good to be true: his new friends are planning to rob the farmer’s bank and Chris is supposed to be the inside man on the lookout. Cornered, he has no choice but to agree.
The good: Good acting. Good story and directing (Scott Frank). There’s a lot of suspense in the last third of the movie – a welcome transition for slow two preceding thirds it. Some scenes were sexed up. The music is very nice: it really helps the movie to flow, setting the pace, the mood and suspense in the end. It’s nothing special, but it just fits the movie so well that some scenes with no dialog like the road sequence feel almost like a music video.
Jeff Daniels has a short role but he’s awesome. Of course, Chris made a joke (in anger) that his friend looks like Jeff Daniels. He was stealing every scene he was in. Worth mentioning that he won a Golden Globe and Independent Spirit award for his role in 2006 movie The Squid And The Whale.
The bad: the first two thirds of the movie where story of Chris’s injury and his life after the accident were told and when the bandits were setting him up were too long. The music was also too slow and moody and it felt like the music was dictating the action on the screen and not the director. Deputy Tedd The Doughnut was a nice guy but he was kinda retarded. The bandit with long hair and a shotgun was very menacing, but he looked like he walked out from another movie, probably a western. Throughout the movie I kept thinking “Memento”. To be fair, it’s a completely different story, but a lot of similarities in the character. I’ve seen better heist movies, however “The Lookout” has been nominated for 7 awards. It’s also unclear what happened to Lovelee in the end.
Summary: the first half could be faster paced, but overall a well made movie with the suspense building up toward the end. Nobody will remember in a year though – this is not “Memento”.
Joseph Gordon-Levitt is getting better with every movie he does. “The Lookout” may have come unnoticed, but many still remember that he got a special “Best Actor Under 10″ award for his feature film debut, The River Runs Through It.
Mathew Goode was perfectly cast. I remember this English actor for his role in Miss Marple BBC series, which I am a fan of since childhood. He also was cast in Copying Beethoven, My Family And Other Animals and Woody Allen’s Match Point.
Isla Fisher’s role he was to be sexy and seductive. I remember her from “The Wedding Crashers” and I think she was in Scooby Doo.
Scott Frank has done a good job directing “The Lookout” – his debut as a director. He also wrote it, but he had won many awards already as a talented screen writer who wrote Out Of Sight based on Elmore Leonard’s novel, The Interpreter, Flight Of The Phoenix (2005 version), Minority Report, Get Shorty and more. He is very young and I hope to see more of his work in the future.
DVD bonus features:
- Featurette about making “The Lookout”
- “Behind the mind of Chris Pratt”
- Audio Commentary With Writer/Director Scott Frank and director of photography Alar Kivilo
Blu-Ray bonus features:
- all of the above DVD features plus
- Movie Showcase – access to select scenes showcasing HD picture and sound
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