A conservative judge is appointed by the President to spearhead America's escalating war against drugs, only to discover that his teenage daughter is a crack addict. Two DEA agents protect an informant. A jailed drug baron's wife attempts to carry on the family business.
Benicio Del Toro,
A career bank robber busts out of jail (Clooney) with the help of his buddy (Rhames) and kidnaps a US Marshal (Lopez) in the process. When the two cons head for Detroit to pull off their final big scam, the Marshal is put on their case but she finds she is attracted to one of them and has second thoughts about bringing them in. Written by
Many industry insiders felt that the film was mis-marketed by Universal Pictures, and should have been released in the fall, where there was less competition, and no summer blockbusters. See more »
If Karen Sisco had fired a gun in the enclosed volume of a car trunk, she probably would have blown out her ear drums. See more »
I know a guy who walks into a bank with a little glass bottle. He tells everyone it's nitroglycerine. He scores some money off the teller, walks out. On his way out, the bottle breaks, he slips on it and knocks himself out. The "nitro" was Canola oil. I know more fucked-up bank robbers than ones who know what they're doing. I doubt if one in twenty could tell you where the dye pack is. Most bank robbers are fucking morons.
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When released in 1998, "Out of Sight" was Steven Soderburgh's most
mainstream film to date, after he burst onto the indie scene a decade
earlier with "Sex, Lies, and Videotape". Based upon the novel by Elmore
Leonard ("Get Shorty", "Jackie Brown"), the movie tells the tale of odd
couple Jack Foley (George Clooney), a career criminal, and federal
marshall Karen Sisco (Jennifer Lopez). After a unique first encounter,
their paths continue intersecting, with various degrees of intent, to
comprise the bulk of the story.
Similar to the Soderburgh-helmed "Ocean's Eleven", "Out of Sight"
blends the standard apples and oranges of genres into a delicious
smoothie. This is a drama, minus the driving intensity, light-hearted
enough to pass as a comedy. It's a comedy, but not of the HAHA sort.
The humor lies in things like Clooney's glances, JLo's relationship
dilemmas, the paradox of Ving Rhames' self-righteous thief, and the
sheer absurdity of Don Cheadle's gangsta. It's also a romance and a
cop-and-robber story, but neither love nor crime is the whole point.
All of these pieces unite to form a fantastic puzzle of a picture.
The tasty complexity is further deepened by the non-linear storytelling
technique. Flashing backward here and there throughout the film is a
good choice because the viewer can only fully understand the previous
events with the 20/20 vision of hindsight. Plus it eliminates what
could have been a painful first half hour of exposition, instead
spreading the backstory through the rest of the film.
The stylistic singular color palettes for different locations that
Soderburgh later used magnificently in "Traffic" are present here as
well. From bright sun-drenched Florida to the ice cold blues of
Detroit, this technique serves as virtual atmosphere, allowing one to
determine the geography even without the convenience of titles. In a
non-linear film like this, that ease in recognizing time and place
facilitates comprehension of what is happening when. Unique among
Soderburgh's work (to my recollection) is the film's use of occasional
freeze frames. Stopping the picture for just a second or two,
Soderburgh gently identifies poignant moments, obvious or not, allowing
an extra moment to deservedly linger on them.
With the high technical accomplishments, the acting almost doesn't
matter, but the slightly understated method works wonders. Clooney is
his usual suave self, complete with snappy dialogue and a cornucopia of
confidence. In a role that "Enough" can only dream about, JLo almost
looks like a real actress (joke). She is absent her too-common
ditziness and easily holds her own, despite being a tad too glamorous.
Rhames, Cheadle, and Albert Brooks are their usual solid selves,
playing parts both similar and drastically different from their
wheelhouses. Everyone seems to have perspective in their parts, not
utilizing excessive gravity or levity, but rather hitting the
appropriate notes as they inhabit their roles to perfection. Ultimately
you believe all of these actors in their parts, even if JLo's skirts
are entirely too short for a federal agent.
Like "Ocean's Eleven", "Out of Sight" is a very good film, merging
quality in all aspects of film-making into a fully enjoyable two hour
experience. The main themes of crime and love are basic, so the movie
doesn't soar to remarkable heights. But if you're looking for a
brilliantly made film that you might have missed on its theatrical run,
espy Out of Sight and settle in for a quirkily involving night. If you
saw it a few years back, check it out again to see Soderburgh's
foundation for his own excellence.
Bottom Line: A wholly absorbing movie that serves as a film-making
clinic of brilliance. 8 of 10.
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