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|Index||143 reviews in total|
Well paced, dialog about 90% believable, acting is excellent, really no annoying cringe-inducing moments, so rare in the movies of the past 20 years. I rent a decent amount of movies and almost always feel annoyed at wasting a couple hours after they're done, this one you won't be wasting your time on, very good, a true, honest representation of how things can easily go wrong in a person's life, and a great job by Joseph Gordon-Levitt playing a damaged individual trying to put his life back together. Jeff Daniels is enteraining as the blind friend, Isla Fisher is easy on the eyes, and the villains are all human beings as well as evil characters. The ending wraps up a little too neatly, but otherwise a truly excellent little film.
Young man in small town Kansas, working as the solo night-janitor at the local bank, is still suffering trauma and memory problems stemming from a car accident four years prior; he's recruited by a group of undesirables to help them rob the branch, and considers using his cut of the action to open his own restaurant. Not-bad drama, written and directed by Scott Frank, has some palpable tension in the atmospherics (which are vivid) and the mounting of the plot, though the tale itself is rather a simplistic one. There's also a violent sequence inside the bank which leaves one likable character unfairly cut down...curiously bringing no notice from the neighbors, but instead a prolonged third act capped with a tepid epilogue. ** from ****
This is a watchable, if somewhat transparent and slow moving character
study/crime film. Trouble is, it has too little study and not enough
crime. The problem, it never really seems totally interested in either.
It is engaging enough but never fully fits into a believable and involved story of a handicapped person persuaded, or otherwise, to participate in a bank heist and predictably turns the tables on his gang of no-goods.
There are interesting moments and the cast is up to the task but the pacing is erratic and it all seems rather neatly put together rather than coming together. A good effort but lacks a soul, a deep feeling of empathy and rage (like when they kidnap his only friend), it all seems to be surface with nothing underneath. The ending is also a little too neat and has a fairy tale feel to it that belies the tone of the rest of the film.
A broken character can easily become a writer's darling. Hey, instead
of building up weaknesses deep inside a character a script just has to
follow the single thread of poor guy who has to cope with our reality.
Actually this seems to be a very well-written script: general pace, scenes, dialogue. The problem is, when a writer's indulges in the pathos world of a broken character, we have to cope with a passive lead who cannot succeed in anything more than just surviving his own wounds. In the end we have a very nicely written story but it doesn't lead us anywhere. The main character is marginally better off at the end, but maybe he would have been better off anyway.
The funny thing is that it looks like the movie is too linear: we are always in a position of being one step ahead of the struggling hero, so why not try a more creative editing? The hero is advised to start with the end if he has trouble gathering his thoughts, so who's giving free lessons here?
The news these days on Joseph Gordon-Levitt is the talks with director
Christopher Nolan with regards to a possible role in The Dark Knight
Rises. The actor did a tremendous job as the point man in Nolan's
Inception with a set action piece that serves as the unforgettable
highlight, and starred in one of my favourite films in 2009 - 500 Days
of Summer, that I decided to take a peek back into his filmography, and
hence this film.
The Lookout is a debut feature film directing effort by Scott Frank, who is probably better known as the screenwriter for Out of Sight and Get Shorty. And his writing shines here as he creates that rare film that is rich in characterization, and didn't fall into the trap of being indulgent with his scenes or characters, crafting characters whom we care for, pacing the story tight and not put to waste the scenes included. It's a classic tale of a promising someone being cut down to size by a tragedy and having to live with the mistakes made, fused with a heist plot that made it all a very compelling premise.
And who better to play this character of Chris Pratt than Joseph Gordon-Levitt? It called for a lot of emotion and in some ways is a challenge to keep something quite rote, fresh. Playing a man who has to rely on his notebook since his memory and brain got totally whacked from an accident that took the lives of his friends, Gordon-Levitt made Chris a little sympathetic, yet struggling to live with a handicap that he has to jot down things to remember, and having to get past sequencing and forgetfulness issues. It's a brilliant character portrayal of a man whose life got ripped from him, and is stuck in limbo of sorts that he can't really help it.
The story moves up a notch when we learn of his job as a bank janitor at night, forming a friendship with the township's sheriff, and the introduction of Gary Spargo (Matthew Goode) who claims to know Chris' sister, and slowly but surely is enticing Chris into his grand plot of robbing a bank from the inside, with help of course through Chris. But to do so means the gaining of trust, and what would always help will be to bring on some lady charms with Luvlee (Isla Fisher). Being slighted in the normal world would push our protagonist into the arms of crime - Matthew Goode in excellent form here as the devil incarnate offering an opportunity of no longer being looked down by others, since the mantra that's so seductive and so real that's shared, involves the saying that whoever has the money has the power.
Scott Frank kept everything deliberate, and puts things together in very intelligent fashion as things all come to a heady crescendo for a climatic end. Rather than to jump right into the more sexier aspects of what would be a bank robbery and then an opportunity for redemption to happen, he spends considerable time crafting the character of Chris Pratt for the audience and dwelling on his mental affliction, that an insurmountable emotional payload gets invested, which worked wonders. Jeff Daniels as the visually challenged Lewis also had a couple of scenes that will move, perhaps being a representation of someone who is at peace with his disability, making the most out of it, and an invisible goal for Chris to ultimately be at, given the struggles that the latter have to undergo now.
With a great soundtrack to boot, The Lookout is a character driven, excellent piece of storytelling that deserves to be seen by a wider audience. Don't miss it if you have the chance, or if you're a fan of Joseph Gordon-Levitt, then this is a definite must watch to see him in action and showcasing just why he's such a brilliant actor of his generation.
'Inception' didn't give you much of an 'Arthur' by Joseph
Gordon-Levitt. I remember what a fantastic job he did portraying Chris
Pratt in "The Lookout" (2007) a thoughtful thriller, just as brainy and
dramatic (not high-minded hypothetical as "Inception").
Skillful writer Scott Frank, who gave us "Out of Sight" and "Minority Report", capably delivered his own screenplay and directorial debut thriller "The Lookout" - giving us a chance to appreciate how very talented Joseph Gordon-Levitt is. (Of course, if anyone had seen "Mysterious Skin", you'd know Gordon-Levitt can intensely and integrally get under the skin - no pun intended - of his characters. Then there's "500 Days of Summer" when he can handle romantic material just as elegantly.) This is a multi-faceted character, from beginning to end. We get to observe and feel the change and maturing of Chris Pratt, our protagonist of this story, and there are gritty, mind-tugging elements and scenes Gordon-Levitt has to go through. (Come to think of it, "The Lookout" is a much more entertaining movie to watch than "Inception" which is heavy on the theorem sci-fi and psycho-analysis side).
Mind you, The Lookout" is also mind-challenging. We are following Chris Pratt as he talks through with himself the steps and checklist items he has to execute to get to the next phase (of his day, his life). Not to worry, it's not confusing. It actually pulls you into the plot and makes you care for Chris, for his roommate Lewis (playfully acting blind by Jeff Daniels). And you'd want to know what would happen to the villains (Matthew Goode of "Match Point" coolly delivered Gary Spargo, leader of the gang), as this is a heist kind of a movie, where guns, coercion, menacing killer, money bags and bullets are involved. "Am I dead? I must be." Leave it to Daniels to deliver such a line. Yes, the storyline is absorbing and tight, the dialog is clever and with sprinkles of humor - you will enjoy and relish this film. Look out for "The Lookout" - already on DVD with bonus features on "Behind the Mind of Chris Pratt" and "Sequencing The Lookout". A thriller with dramatic human warmth (admirable life lessons inclusive) and satisfying conclusion (you will agree guaranteed) - can't get any better. Definitely a must-see.
this movie has some very intense characters, we will start with Chris our lead character who stupidly drives with his headlights off down a country road and proceeds to smash into a parked farm combine. you have gary the leader of the bank robbing crew,, he is shifty,, a person you really can't trust. then you got chris's roommate Lewis, played by Jeff Daniels,, he is blind for this role,, living with Chris, so the two of them both have disabilities, Chris's is a brain trauma, where he basically has to learn everything over again. you got Luvlee Lemons, yes i said that right,, she 's an ex- stripper,, a little cutie who apparently had the hots for Chris before his accident.. some wonder whether she was in on it with Gary and the other bank robbers,, which you would have to decide for yourself.. Alfred Molina plays Chris's father,, an interesting character to watch there,, and you got Bone,,, one of the bank robbers, and then you got a local sheriff who always checks up on chris with a box of donuts.. so all in all this is a very character driven movie,, some action,, but not a lot,, a movie that makes you think,, and takes you into the world of somehow who basically starts over with life.
The movie begins on a high note giving you a feel of memento. Chris(Joseph Gordon-Levitt) is a brain damaged student who needs a notepad to tell him to take shower and eat breakfast. But within 5 minutes you realize this one's different . The plot takes a while to develop so the first half is quite boring except for the flashbacks which tell us that Chris was a promising teenager with a perfect life before a tragic accident changed everything. Now he lives with his blind friend Lewis who is a wannabe entrepreneur . they share a good chemistry with light humor . He works as a night janitor in a bank and because of his condition is approached by a gang who is gonna use him to steal some cash. The climax is fine making the film worth watching once.
A brain-damaged young man who works as a janitor at a bank is recruited to help with a robbery. Gordon-Levitt, the kid from "3rd Rock from the Sun," is all grown up and gives an affecting performance as a one-time high school star who has to live with the scars of an act of youthful indiscretion that has left him struggling to make simple decisions. Goode is equally good as the fellow masterminding the heist. Daniels is funny as Gordon-Levitt's blind roommate. Frank, the writer of "Get Shorty" and "Minority Report," wrote the script and makes an impressive directorial debut. The story is entertaining if implausible and not particularly memorable.
This movie is not a "heist" movie or a thriller. It's really a
character study about someone who is paying a horrible price for a
youthful mistake. Gordon Levitt plays a young man who caused an
accident that destroyed his promising life, and as a result of his
injuries, he is mentally impaired. His well-to-do parents condescend
and don't understand, his life situation is impoverished and empty and
he recognizes his own shortcomings and the burden of responsibility he
carries for the tragedy he caused. Everyone in the small Kansas town he
lives in knows him and the story, and he is treated with Pity,
indifference by most, as he lives the simple life circumstances allow
Suddenly, a schemer enters his life and offers him a chance to change his situation. He is drawn into a web of manipulation, understanding parts of the situation at best.
The story unfolds simply and logically up until a point, the final resolution of the conflict is somewhat forced and doesn't really make much sense, but he basically comes out intact, and ultimately he is resolved to his circumstances. If the ending is not "happy", it at least doesn't end in tragedy(which might have been more impactive, actually).
There is nothing new here, laconic middle-class emptiness, Midwestern anomie, the lure and the trap are all familiar ground. What saves this film is the acting. There is not a bad performance here. Mathew Goode as the evil schemer is strong. Jeff Daniels is fantastic. Ilse Fisher is more than adequate. Gorden Levitt has a deceptively easy part, but he never over-acts or seems contrived. All the supporting players are good.
A movie I would recommend, but not a must-see.
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