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Bill Clinton was still in the White House, the Gulf War had
no sequel, gas was under $2.00 a gallon, and a kinda-known actress was
in her pre-J. Lo/Jenny from the Block/Bennifer/media whore phase.
Back when she used to have a little (now she has a lot), Jennifer Lopez was actually enjoyable in Steven Soderbergh's 'Out of Sight.' I saw this in the theater when it came out and remember thinking it was one of the better films I'd seen that year. I watched it again last night on DVD, and I have to say that it still holds up. Clooney is finally given a worthy vehicle, and he and Lopez have actual, undeniable chemistry on the screen. The supporting players (especially the incomparable Don Cheadle) are perfectly cast. Soderbergh effortlessly knocks this one out of the park.
One critic gave the film two and a half out of four stars and claimed 'Out of Sight' was in need of a 'shot of adrenaline,' but I have no idea where he's coming from. When you think of all the bad movies that are released in any given year, you'd think you'd appreciate something like this.
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.
Wild and chaotic action/drama/comedy that was basically ignored by everyone in 1998, but was definitely one of the top ten films of the year. Bank robber George Clooney escapes prison one day and is tracked by a female federal marshal (Jennifer Lopez, in a very hot performance). There is definitely a chemistry between Clooney and Lopez that will lead to fireworks on more than one occasion. Clooney has teamed up with some crazed criminals for a jewel heist, but Lopez continues to track him relentlessly. "Out of Sight" is so full of, well, everything. It is packed with action, romance, drama, and some very black comedy. Clooney and Lopez do the best work of their careers. The supporting cast is super as well. Don Cheadle, Ving Rhames, Michael Keaton, Dennis Farina, and Albert Brooks all shine with the inventive screenplay and the top-notch direction. 4.5 out of 5 stars.
'Out of Sight' is one of those rare films that can boast of having class in every department. The direction, script, cinematography, design and costumes disply such an acute and almost natural flair for bringing Elmore Leonard to the screen that it should be made illegal to film any of his novels without these people. But the acting is in a world of its own. Farina, Keaton, Rhames, Cheadle and Zahn all bring depth, comedy and intelligence to their roles. All are eclipsed however by the irresistable pairing of Jennifer Lopez and George Clooney. Clooney has finally managed to act without peering beneath his eyebrows and the effect is electric. This is the part he was born to play. His charisma is tangiable, but there is also a sense of fatalism whihc makes his character all the more compelling. Lopez, after her screaming shit-fits in the woeful 'Anaconda' proves that sexuality must also equal intelligence. Her Cisco is a mouth-watering mix of sass, beauty and cut-throat determination. It is one of those moments when you can actually see a star being born on screen. Put Clooney and Lopez together, and you have the type of chemistry with which executives have wet dreams over
Chemistry so hot that they ignite the screen. Too bad it didn't ignite the
Box Office, but Out Of Sight is one movie both George Clooney and Jennifer
Lopez can feel damn proud of. Maybe it's the fact that George's criminal
character is *actually* funny and multi-dimensional. Maybe it's the fact
that the storyline actually has a story to it - and an interesting one at
that. Hell - maybe it's just that J.Lo walks around in skimpy outfits -
curves flaunted - and likes to kick butt. After much consideration, I must
concur: it's equal parts to all 3.
Strong performances by Clooney (Jack) and Lopez (Karen), as well as George's Ocean's 11 co-star Don Cheadle. Witty script and likeable characters with a satisfying and plot-twisting ending. What more can you want? Did I hear you say Jennifer Lopez naked? Yeah well, you won't get that here... but it's good all the same!
Great film. The characters seemed believable. The dialog well written,
sharp, but not
overly polished, no character has a monologue. How often in the 90's do we
thriller, or crime mystery, or a buddy film, all components the film plays
with, and would
consider a discussion about the script?
Leonard has a way with the practical aspects of crime, the fist fight
shoot outs are
awkward, characters miss their mark more often than not, they run out of
often in an action film does the hero miss a shot? I'm sick to death of
stories, huge explosions and car chases.
The photography is very well done and the soundtrack is fantastic. Of
is the editing, of which the film received an oscar nomination. One of the
scenes in a contemporary film.
What you hope you get with an adult crime movie, sleek, smart and
Steven Soderbergh knows his way around the bizarre, nearly impossible
story lines and can translate them to film as few others can. OUT OF
SIGHT is a little masterpiece of film-making despite the fact that when
it initially screened in 1998 it seemed to slip by theatergoers'
attention. Based on the inimitable Elmore Leonard novel the story begs
indulgence in credible situations but shines in quality of script and
characterization and an atmospheric cinematic capturing of a dark, film
noir comedy drama that grabs you by the head and holds you glued to the
screen for the duration.
The story is rather simple on the surface - a jailed bank robber escapes with the help of his buddy and plans a major hit only to encounter a federal agent in pursuit of the two who becomes the love interest portion of this strangely convoluted tail. Subplots and sidebars are sprinkled throughout Soderbergh's telling of Leonard's story, serving to keep our minds alert and mesmerized by the plot development.
The cast is absolutely first rate with George Clooney, Jennifer Lopez and Ving Rhames especially pungent in roles that seem written for them. The strong supporting cast includes such fine actors as Steve Zahn, Catherine Keener, Don Cheadle, Luis Guzman , Isaiah Washington, Dennis Farina, and Albert Brooks. And for those who enjoy powerful sexual chemistry Clooney and Lopez offer some of their finest collaborative acting. This is a fine movie and one that doubtless in time will be considered and under appreciated Film Classic. Grady Harp
"Out of Sight" was one of the best movies of 1998, and yet it was ignored by moviegoers. I am amazed that most of George Clooney's movies fail, with the exception of "Batman and Robin" all of his films have been good. This film has good performances from a talented cast and great direction from an original story by Elmore Leonard. Highly reccomended.
I, too, had a little trouble buying that such an intense relationship was
born from such a minor conversation between them in the trunk. However,
when I was able to get past that inconsistency in the plot, I found a great
movie. Clooney and Lopez have great chemistry and show that they are both
actors worthy of recognition. I loved the editing--the choppy cuts and the
freezing of certain scenes. And I have never seen a better seduction scene
in my life. The supporting cast was great too, especially the incomparably
zany Steve Zahn. And once I got past the improbability of the relationship
being so intense that she would risk her career for it, I thought that the
way that she did risk her career was just great. I laughed out loud at the
scene when he waves to her from the elevator. That is just a wonderful
illustration that not everything is clear-cut or easy to do. Clooney was
phenomenal, so cool...and just resigned to his life. I loved
By the way, seeing this movie after Jennifer Lopez has launched her career in pop music simply infuriated me that Hollywood has all but lost a true talent to the world of bubblegum pop.
Expect good things in the future from everyone involved with this film, because they all come off nicely. Scott Frank gets Elmore Leonard just right, and Steven Soderburgh makes all the right decisions, pulling George Clooney's best performance out of him. Clooney has great chemistry with Jennifer Lopez, who is sly and tough as always. Their characters' conversation in a Detroit hotel bar is the sexiest scene I've ever seen. Albert Brooks and Don Cheadle are perfect, and Steve Zahn steals yet ANOTHER movie. The DVD is nice, if only for one deleted scene (right before the bathtub scene) that is hilarious, yet still never would've worked had they kept it in the film. SEE this film - and see how long the characters stay with you.
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