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Reviews & Ratings for
The Lookout More at IMDbPro »

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Index 145 reviews in total 

Strong film, let down by weak final act

Author: tieman64 from United Kingdom
7 March 2013

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

"The Lookout", an excellent crime drama by director Scott Frank, stars Joseph Gordon-Levitt and Jeff Daniels as a pair of likable handicaps who share a small apartment. Both become embroiled in a bank caper, but the film's first hour is less interested in conventional crime movie thrills than in crafting a restrained and somewhat touching character study. In this regard, our hero's a young kid whose sense of self-worth has been shattered by a fatal accident, who suffers severe mental disabilities and who slowly finds himself seduced by a fork-tongued villain.

At its best, the film is sensitive, well acted and fairly unconventional. Unfortunately its final act degenerates into genre clichés and action movie wish-fulfilment.

8/10 – Good, sensitive potboiler, promises more than its final act can deliver. See "Cutter's Way".

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What a great actor Joseph Gordon-Levitt is.

Author: Ignacio Migueles (ignacio-mig14) from Argentina
1 October 2012

This man is without a doubt in the Top 3 of best actors from his generation, and he takes his skills to the next level in this dramatic thriller. This is a movie you gotta be patient with, because the main plot is crafted in a slow pace, in order you get to know first Pratt's current and past life, his feelings and ambitions that led him to do what he did, and his wise blind friend Lewis, played brilliantly by Jeff Daniels. Once the movie gets in it's climax it totally gets your attention and you can feel what Chris feels like if you were him. I think that's one of the best qualities of Joseph Gordon-Levitt, the way he makes his characters show every emotion in a such a sincere manner, so you can feel a strong connection with them. Only a few thrillers can really be emotional without recurring to basic clichés, and this one is one of them, because instead of showing tears and guilt it shows you how to overcome your problems and the way others may or not help you do it. For the combination of action and emotion brilliantly performed, this is one of the best movies I've seen in a long time, and Levitt sure deserved much more recognition for this part in my opinion. 10/10.

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Powerful and convicting in its simple goodness.

Author: bobsgrock from United States
1 February 2012

The Lookout is the kind of film that will not make money, and this did not. What it does is provide us with great storytelling, strong performances and a moving portrayal of a man whose life is anything but what he envisioned and now must deal with long-term consequences. Joseph Gordon-Levitt, clearly one of the best actors in the business, goes accent and all into the role of Chris Pratt, a once highly-touted hockey player with an affluent family, a blind roommate and short-term memory loss conflicting with his desire to live normally.

The center plot involves Chris crossing paths with a group of the exact opposite kind of men he has become. Led by the mysteriously violent Matthew Goode, these four plan to rob the bank where Chris works at, leaving him with a serious moral choice: rob the bank for money to improve his life or stay stuck in the same rut.

What separates this film from other modern noirs like it is its wonderful sense of humanity. The opening sequence sets the tone for the film and despite what happens we feel empathy for Chris who after a tragic event in his past hopes to wrong his rights one way or another. Goode gives perhaps the film's best performance as a smart, handsome and completely confident man Chris comes to admire if only to pick up women. The supporting roles also add rather than subtract from the story thanks to the likability of Jeff Daniels and Isla Fisher.

Many have probably not heard of this film and that is a shame. Beautifully written, smartly directed and an ending that avoids the right clichés and overt sentimentality all combine to make this a very entertaining and touching human story.

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Only characters

Author: Armand from Romania
19 January 2012

Nuances of characters, larges, subtle, powerful, full of symbols, poetry and deep senses. That is the virtue of this movie. Exploatation of Gordon - Levitt to discover the basic truth of a character, shadow of a great hockey player for who life is a kind of swamp. The precision of Jeff Daniels to give soul and tenderness of a unforgiven blind informal teacher. The interpretation of Matthew Goode as game of bleak pieces and final victim. The story is old and without sparkle. So, important is teller. Director, actor, public. A common film who creates more than good memories. Few characters and broken limits. Existence as cold river in evening. That is all.

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wonderful pace and so exciting

Author: biggishlou-242-950725 from San Francisco
11 January 2012

Instead of going to bed at 2am I decided to stay up and watch The Lookout on USA, solely because of Joseph Gordon-Levitt. Particularly of how he has been in four of the best films I have seen in the last few months. (That would be Brick, Hesher, Inception, and 500 Days of Summer) This is different than all of them, and it is not a heist action thriller as it may sound.

I believe this is mostly about the main character, Chris Pratt (Levitt) and the struggles with his past, present, future, and morality. An instantly likable yet sad character. Those that surround him, weather they be complexly written into the story or not, like him for some reason or the other. That is except for one who we only know of in the end. Levitt plays a fine lead in a cast full of Numerous personalities.

This is a writers film. Obviously, since Scott Frank is primarily a screenwriter. However for his directorial debut, one doesn't think his skills fall short of the two other infamous directors that were semi attached here before. The cinematography fits perfect for this bleak and rather sad story, but don't fret, the excitement is right around the corner of a multi story building(see it, some will get it).

Some have said the story lacks complexity, and sure, the actual synopsis is nothing new. That's not the point. The pacing, the characters, the dialogue, the desolate landscapes and quirky camera angles. That's the point. This is my first written review on IMDb, and I felt compelled to write about The Lookout. That's the point.

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Lookout delivers an action plot with real characters

Author: djderka from United States
4 January 2012

This is a really good movie, with suspense and characters so lifelike I didn't think they were acting.

The main character, Chris Pratt is an high school "everyman" in that almost all high schools have some kids that have been killed or maimed in a car wreck. At my high school, which was large, there was a car full of kids who crashed into a utility pole and one died, the others mangled up. Everyone knew them and it haunted us for a long time.

That is why the one scene where Chris is pulled over the by the cop as he drives down the highway still stunned by the wreck, wrings so true. The cop says he was riding with no lights on (as in the accident) and asks to see his ID. He looks, a beat, "so you're Chris Prentis"

And in a look he conveys the knowledge of that tragedy and says "Go home". A brilliant scene that contains a hell of a lot of emotional baggage. That might have been a great opening shot, then flash back to the crash....just sayin'.

This movies has a great script, superb acting and nice shots. What more could you want, except that as the writer of Out of Sight, and Get Shorty Frank left out some of the more humorous aspects that were frequent in those films. Perhaps this was a more somber approach. But maybe the humor was more of a Leonard deal.

The movie reminded me of A Simple Plan, an excellent movie by Sam Rami which is rich with character ideas, plot and acting.

Go see this movie and be sure and listen to the Director's commentary track.


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A heartwarming tale of a young man who gets all his friends killed

Author: JSmith125 from United States
19 November 2011

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

The moral scheme of this film is just incomprehensible. We're supposed to feel bad for a guy who killed two of his friends and maimed another by driving irresponsibly. He emerged intact, but it's supposed to be OK because he suffers some problems with memory and has to write things down. Then he joins a gang planning a bank robbery. He knows this is wrong, as is clear from his initial resistance, but goes along anyway to spite his dad. The robbery gets another friend of his killed, a deputy sheriff who used to bring him donuts. That's actually felony murder, but it's OK because the kid felt bad about it and tried to warn off the deputy at the last moment. And then, instead of ratting out the gang to the cops, as a responsible citizen would do, the kid takes matters into his own hands, which brings his current best friend within two seconds of getting killed. But it's OK, because he shoots the bad guy and is last seen "getting on with my life." Well good, because unfortunately all the people you got killed won't be getting on with theirs.

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Now This was a Great Movie!!!!!!!!

Author: smheat96 from United States
16 August 2011

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

This movie was great!! Plain and simple, the acting was superb, the characters were thorough and precise and you empathize them and you really can understand how they are feeling and what they are going through. Joseph-Gordon Levitt, from Inception, who gets into an accident, no more details, has memory loss and has to write everything down. He lives with his room mate played by the guy in Dumb and Dumber who was Jim Carrey's friend.

Now these group of bank robbers who picked out a location of a bank to rob in a small rural town sees that Joseph's character works there and they decide to befriend him and welcome him to their family and during that process Joseph meets this girl and falls in love with her, but freaks out when he finds out that the guys want him involved in a bank robbery. Now the plot is very interesting because it's as if you are watching the movie through the main character's eyes. That's what I meant by saying you empathize the character so much. It moves at a steady pace, never a dull moment, always something going on and the dialog was so captivating, it's exactly like how a normal person under that situation would talk, and the whole movie is overall amazing. Watch it and enjoy this was something you will like. People on this sight keep commenting the similarities between memento and this. Memento was incredible and somewhat some aspects there are some similarities but this is something a little different and it's a good flick to watch.

Solid 9/10!!!!

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Whoever Has the Money Has the Power

Author: KineticSeoul from United States
11 February 2011

I remember my high school govt teacher recommended this movie so I checked it out, I remember it being a pretty darn good movie so decided to watch it again. And it's still a very good dramatic crime thriller. It's just a shame this film didn't get the worldwide gross in box office it deserved and didn't get the amount of views it deserved either. Joseph Gordon-Levitt is the main star of this movie and he really does shine in this, he really is a good actor and his performance grows as he gets older. Jeff Daniels performance is intriguing and entertaining to watch as the protagonist's blind friend and the character that stood out the most. This is one of those films that is not ambitious, but it still gets the job done with it's good script and put together very well, especially with it's excellent pacing. Even if most of the characters aren't really anything new. Overall this really is a under-appreciated film that is worth a watch, it just isn't a amazingly entertaining film.


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A thriller that goes that extra mile to make you care about what happens in it

Author: MBunge from Waterloo, Iowa
14 January 2011

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

The Lookout is an intelligent, well made thriller that mixes just a smidgen of Memento into a classic bank heist flick. It's a little top heavy and I'm not sure the moral lesson at the end truly holds up under scrutiny, but it's exciting, not entirely predictable and has some very good actors shining through some underwritten roles.

Chris Pratt (Joseph Gordon-Levitt) used to be on top of the world. He was a high school hockey star in Kansas with everything going for him, until a night of recklessness killed two of his friends and left Chris with brain damage. Now his coordination is shot, his self-control is erratic and it's hard for him to remember things like B comes after A and 4 comes after 3. Though his family is wealthy, Chris chooses to share an apartment with Lewis (Jeff Daniels), a blind man matched with him by social services, and work the only job he can now hold down, night janitor at a small town bank.

One night, Chris is in a bar, wanting to ask a woman out but no longer knowing how to do it, when a man strikes up a conversation with him. Gary Spargo (Matthew Goode) says he knew Chris' older sister in high school and remembers what a stud Chris used to be. Chris is drawn to Gary's acceptance and validation. He's drawn more strongly to the beautiful redhead (Isla Fisher) in Gary's company. The two of them seem to offer Chris something like his old life back. What they end up offering him is money to be the lookout while Gary and his gang rob the bank where Chris works. Frustrated with his life, Chris agrees but…well, let's just say that things don't work out quite like either Chris or Gary imagines.

I liked this film. It comes up with the really interesting starting point of man consumed by guilt over what he's done to others and anguish over what he's done to himself. It shows us the broken-brain prison he put himself in and then offers him a way out that the audience kind of wants him to take. The story of an ordinary man roped into a criminal conspiracy has been done so many times before. Making Chris Pratt abnormal and making the crime his way back to normality gives the tale a new emotional resonance. No matter how many times you've seen this story before, it'll feel different this time.

And while The Lookout isn't exactly a puzzle movie, it does a very nice job of establishing things early in the film that comes together at the end in a way you don't necessarily expect. It rewards you for paying attention without completely telegraphing its intentions.

The cast also uniformly does some very good work here, particularly Joseph Gordon-Levitt, Jeff Daniels and Matthew Goode. Gordon-Levitt has a deceptively tough job here, playing a man who knows what he wants his brain and body to do but cannot get them to comply. It'd be easy to over- or underplay this part, but Gordon-Levitt walks right down the line as what is left of a once ordinary person. Jeff Daniels is extremely charismatic as Lewis yet avoids overpowering the more subtle performance his leading man pulls off. Matthew Goode plays Gary like the biblical snake tempting a man who doesn't live in anything like the Garden of Eden. Gary is someone who has genuine regard for Chris but whose malevolent nature exploits that regard to get what it wants. Isla Fisher is also noteworthy for playing a woman that could either be very dumb or very smart and never letting the audience decide which.

What makes the acting here every more impressive is how sketchily drawn are most of the roles. We know an awful lot about Chris Pratt. We assume a lot but know far less about Lewis. We learn virtually nothing about Gary and learn completely nothing about the other members of Gary's gang. The other people in this story are caricatures at best and servants of The Almighty Plot Hammer at worse. Isla Fisher is this film's version of the "hooker with a heart of gold". One of Gary's henchmen has the menacing appearance of Peter Fonda from Easy Rider after he's been dunked in a vat of ink, but appearance is all he is.

Another problem with The Lookout is that it spends an unusual amount of time on Chris' life and doesn't get to the heist until very late in the movie. For the first hour of the film, we get stuff about Chris and his father, Chris and Lewis, Chris and a girl from his past, Chris and the people at the bank, Chris at special ed classes and the challenges and torments of Chris' day-to-day existence. Then it gets to the heist and doesn't spend an equivalent amount of time on that or Chris' relationship with the other criminals. That part of the story goes by much quicker and has a more mechanical feel. Writer/director Scott Frank needed to expand the heist part of script, which might have slackened the pace and bloated the story, but there's certainly things that could have been cut. The whole subplot about Chris and the girl from his past is too opaque and as lovely and talented as Carla Gugino is, there's no reason for her to be in this motion picture. She shows up for one scene as Chris' social worker, helps frame his condition for the audience, then is never seen or heard from again.

Its flaws don't prevent The Lookout from being entertaining. This is a movie you should see.

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