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|Index||144 reviews in total|
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
Now, I argued with myself about rating this a 9: I sooner award an
imperfect ambitious effort with a lot of good intentions with some
extra credit than a lesser effort from an experienced and famed
director. We can only keep benefiting from acclaimed directors' work
for a little time, the search for new talents to refuel audience
members' creative needs is a road with more let downs along the way
than rewarding and invigorating watches.
'The Lookout' is one of those movies that fills you with hope. Not only does it know how to be subtle and how to pace, it's an economic production, fresh without being far fetched, without trying too hard to be quirky it succeeds to become that way through only a few lines of dialog by Jeff Daniels' sightless character. His character illustrates that handicapped people have every bit as much a right to be flawed (impolite, inconsiderate) than the rest of us. Daniels' sells his lines with such a seeming ease that you wonder why he bothers making comedies of questionable taste (RV).
First time director (but long time screenplay writer) Scott Frank puts his faith into the hands of Joseph Gordon-Levitt to carry the movie, and those who keep an eye open for the next generation of Academy Award winners will know that household name well already (Brick, Mysterious Skin). It's rare to find young actors with such a great deal of exciting movies on their belt, with that in my mind, it's still crystal clear that 'The Lookout' is a - for the time being - career-defining performance. His portrayal of the frustrated, tangled up amnesiac Chris Pratt borders on perfection. His face going to stone, heart nearly stopping, when a friend of his painfully reminds him of the restrictions and impossibilities in his love and professional life. A forced smile, sad eyes looking at us from out of the mists of despair. It becomes painfully clear to him that he's treading water when he's denied a minor loan by his dad. He ignores all his instincts and is exhorted by Gary Spargo into a 'business' deal. Gary's a self-declared friend of his sister's, though when asked about, she has no recollection of him. Chris agrees to help a gang of thugs rob the bank he's employed at, but when he does a volte-face on the plan at the last minute, his bridges are already burned and the misplacement of his trust in two-faced Gary dawns on him. As he rises above his weaknesses (he can't sequence events, has trouble with short-term memory,...) and saves his roommate's life, he takes a first step towards getting his life out of the tailspin...
'The Lookout' entices with it's sincere message of hope, impresses with it's performances (both Daniels and Levitt pull out all stops) and amazes with writing that makes your head spin (the pacing in particular is masterful). Movies that explore extremes can fascinate, but the road 'The Lookout' takes, the one in between emotionally intelligent and intelligent in the more narrow sense of the word (brainy), can lead to excellence too when the right urgency's present in the writing and acting, a little bonus on top of that is the simple, pretty cinematography. Despite the similar sounding premise, 'The Lookout' is nothing like 'Memento'. Nolan's brilliant thriller's script is monumentally intellectual, it's goal is to explore that extreme, while 'The Lookout' ambitions to move it's audience without forced emotional moments whilst also providing a clever plot.
High School hockey star Joseph Gordon-Levitt (as Chris Pratt) is a
reckless driver. To watch fireflies, he turns off his car's headlights,
while out on a double date with four friends. He seriously crashes. Of
the foursome, two are killed, one loses a leg, and Mr. Gordon-Levitt is
mild-to-moderately brain-damaged. He has trouble "sequencing". Four
years later, Gordon-Levitt has successfully mastered independent
living. He receives assistance at Kansas City's "Life Skills Center",
and works nights as an evening bank janitor. Blind roommate Jeff
Daniels (as Lewis) dreams about opening a restaurant with
Frustrated by the limitations resulting from his head injury, Gordon-Levitt is recruited to be "The Lookout" in a bank robbery, by asthmatic ex-con Matthew Goode (as Gary Spargo). Mr. Goode is plotting to rob the "Noel State Bank & Trust", where Gordon-Levitt works. Seductive Isla Fisher (as Luvlee Lemons) helps to reel Gordon-Levitt into Goode's gang. The power of sex and money threatens to derail Gordon-Levitt's life.
Debuting director, and acclaimed writer, Scott Frank makes a favorable debut; shots involving doors and windows are especially effective at enhancing mood and increasing tension. Gordon-Levitt deftly refrains from overplaying the leading character's disability. Interestingly, co-stars Daniels and Goode are also disabled (blindness and asthma). The performances, and story, are excellent.
"The Lookout" is a film, however, which should have been improved upon. Many movies deserve to be cut, but this one could have stood some lengthening. In particular, the relationships Gordon-Levitt has with Ms. Fisher and two other women leave you wanting, and wondering. More information regarding Gordon-Levitt's brain condition could have been given; apparently, he has a restricted driver's license? More importantly, the struggle between Daniels and Goode, for Gordon-Levitt's soul, is too subdued. Despite what's lacking, it's a fine film.
******* The Lookout (2007) Scott Frank ~ Joseph Gordon-Levitt, Jeff Daniels, Matthew Goode
The Lookout gives us an acting tour de force by Joseph Gordon-Levitt
who came to fame as the alien teenager in the popular television series
Third Rock from the Sun. It was always pretty clear that he is a very
good actor, but the silly roll on the television never gave him the
opportunity to express the depths of emotions exhibited in The Lookout.
In this film, he plays a young man who had it all. He was an excellent student and an accomplished hockey player on his high school team. His parents are wealthy, his girlfriend is beautiful, and his life is set to be something special. All this comes to an end in a car crash that kills his best friend and the girl he is dating, inflicts grievous injury upon his girlfriend, and causes him severe brain trauma.
After the crash scene, the movie skips a few years, and we find Levitt's character, Chris, sharing a small apartment with Lewis. Lewis - expertly played by Jeff Daniels - was once a wild druggie who was blinded in an accident. So we have Chris - the former rich, golden boy - and Lewis - the former low life from the wrong side of the tracks - making their way together. Chris has memory problems and must write everything down. There are signs all over the apartment that remind Chris what needs to be done. Chris works at night and Lewis during the day. The older, more stable Lewis runs the household and does all of the cooking. Each morning, when Chris arrives home from work, waiting for him is his meal prepared and laid out by Lewis.
Chris is working on sequence in his writing/therapy class and is unable to relate events, such as what he did yesterday. He always gets stuck on the first event and cannot progress from there. Lewis wisely suggests that he start at the end and work backwards - a logical move for someone with memory problems. We find later in the film that this suggestion is critical to Chris's survival.
Chris works as the night custodian in a bank located in a small town outside the city. He has dreams of becoming a teller at the bank and is being guided by the kindhearted head teller. However, the bank manager is not confident of his success causing Chris to become more and more discouraged with his situation. This sets the stage for a slick talking former classmate of Chris to move in and convince Chris to help in the robbery of the bank.
As the former classmate exercises more and more influence over Chris, the film skillfully shifts from drama to thriller and proceeds to an exciting climax. Some of the events occurring in the climax are improbable, but not too much so as to destroy the strong fabric of the film.
The subject of the film is timely considering the number of soldiers who are returning from war with permanent damage to their brains. Even though the damage suffered by Chris is far less severe than many of those service people, the film gives us a little insight into the very hard road for so many of those young men and women. Gordon-Levitt states in an interview that he worked with victims of brain damage in order to try to portray the condition as accurately as possible within the bounds of the script, and he certainly does an excellent job.
Except for the few improbable events toward the end of the film, The Lookout is an exciting thriller with a great heart presented to us with superior acting and directing.
Whoever has the money has the power.
Brilliant! An Oscar-Worthy movie.
Plot: Chris (Joseph Gordon-Levitt) is a once promising high school athlete whose life is turned upside down following a tragic accident. As he tries to maintain a normal life, he takes a job as a janitor at a bank, where he ultimately finds himself caught up in a planned heist.
The Lookout is a neo-noir clever thriller about the life and of Chris Pratt and how he got caught up in a planned heist (check Plot). The screenplay is made by Scott Frank who also directs the movie. It's a serious and deep film talking about serious themes. It's a tribute to the old crooks and cops, swindles and robberies with complex and riveting performances. Simply, Joseph Gordon-Levitt performance is impeccable.
Verdict: It's a tribute to the old crooks and cops, swindles and robberies with complex and riveting performances that deserves our entire total attention. 9/10. Excellent.
The Lookout. Written and directed by Scott Frank. 99 Min. Miramax Films. UK: 15. US: R. Starring: Joseph Gordon-Levitt, Jeff Daniels, Matthew Goode.
I found this movie for 2 bucks at a local video store and am glad I
decided to grab it. It's a great film with a lot of suspense and twists
that will leave you amazed. I saw this right after Joseph
Gordon-Levitt's other film, Brick, which I think is superior to this
film but The Lookout is still fantastic.
The acting is phenomenal, especially from Joseph Gordon-Levitt and Jeff Daniels. The story was very intricate and unpredictable. The characters were also great. I liked a lot of other things about this movie as well. It's pretty much a must see for crime fans.
The Lookout is a great movie to watch at night with some friends. You have got to see this one!
It's an extraordinary film. There are some pictures that is better seeing just on DVD. I saw this one in a cinema near my home and now I am reviewing it at home and the considerations are exactly the same: What a film, what a group of actors. I don't know why Jeff Daniels doesn't win a lot of prizes every year. He is a fantastic actor in comedy, drama and where else he goes. The sequence where he take off his glasses and turn his eyes like a real blind man is something incredible. And the young Joseph Gordon-Levitt is also fantastic. The ritual of waking up, washing, eating and going out every day and the keys in the shoes are perfect ! Thanks to all of you guys that made this interesting movie.
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
This Movie deserves much more credit than it received. It took a disabled kid and made you compassionate towards him. He was helpless and you cringed to see him taken advantage of by bank robber. Just when all seems lost and his best friend's life is about to end he comes in the clutch with an elaborate plan to outsmart the robbers. I had no idea what would happen while I watched this film, it had me at the edge of my seat. The kid from 3rd rock from the sun is a serious actor now. It was very refreshing to watch and very climactic. I would suggest watching to anybody who hasn't seen it already. Hopefully this didn't reveal the plot too much to you. :)
First of all, don't watch The Lookout late at night... talking about
the folks who will rent the DVD... Why? Because it's a little slow at
times(NOT boring) and some scenes in the first half of the movie where
Gordon-Levitt is alone are very calm and quiet so some may fall a sleep
while watching it :) and i am not being negative towards the movie
here... I wanna say that the mood you're in is also important, it's not
your typical popcorn movie with action from start till the end... if
you expect that, you'll be disappointed... this one is a afternoon
It's true that it incorporates some tricks from other movies but not in a distracting way, at least for me, and i think that those few things are "stolen" from great movies and that's maybe why i was not distracted at all :)... I remember this quote(but can't remember who said it): "When you create something try to be original and if you steal - steal from the best"... i am sure you noticed this in many cases in the past in all kinds of art especially movies and music... Here it all looked fresh, enjoyable and interesting till the end. The story described in one sentence would be something like this: How a former hockey star deals with his own self after surviving a car crash in which 2 of his friends died.
Joseph Gordon-Levitt is the star here and puts an excellent performance creating a very interesting and unique character capturing the emotion that is needed and Jeff Daniels is great in the shoes of Joseph's closest friend who is blind. I'm looking forward to see Scott Frank's next project.
Also if you like this one check the movie Brick, with Joseph Gordon-Levitt, and you'll see why is he one of the best young actors at the moment. The Lookout is not groundbreaking but its well worth a watch and for me - one of the best of 2007.
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
While it is refreshing to see a movie where the main characters are
disabled in some way, I found the two main characters, Chris and Lewis
to be less appealing than expected.
Chris is injured because he was criminally stupid. He recklessly drove a car with others in it begging him not to put them in danger, and he did anyway. He got 2 people killed and 1 maimed besides himself. Someone later asks him if he did any time for this crime (he didn't). Lewis was a Meth cooker who blinded himself through lack of knowledge of the dangers of meth fumes.
One wonders if they would have ever been decent people if they HADN'T been injured. So their injury was in a way their salvation. This theme is set at the beginning when Gugino's character basically states that after her head injury (she was a model) she finally figured out that there were other people in the world who might matter other than herself. Lewis, who has been disabled the longest is now a really great supportive person.
So the theme of redemption through forced inability to live as they had is interesting but a bit harsh. Should we maim or blind people who are selfish and criminal so they will be forced to be better people? At least this film is different than your average heist thriller and the guy who plays Gary (he was in Woody Allen's Match Point as well) was great. Isla Fischer is kind of wasted and any bit of fluff could have done the job although she did the best she could with the part, showing some sort of dimwitted bimbo conscience in the end, although she didn't act on it and basically just ran away and saved herself.
It is nice to see Alberta Watson (mainly known as the Machiavellian Madeleine from the TV show La Femme Nikita) getting some well deserved work. Joseph Gordon-Levitt and Jeff Daniels were great as usual, but if you want to see a really great Joseph Gordon-Levitt film, then skip this and go for "Brick".
I like Joseph Gordon - Lewitt. Have liked him since "3rd rock from the sun" and even liked his bit part in "H20". Wondered why he never got the big parts. Because of him, I saw "the lookout". Now this is not a big movie. This is a little b-movie, from the bottom shelf of a video rental store. There are no big bangs, but because it has J G-L in the title role AND Jeff Daniels in a vital supprorting role it's either an overlooked gem with good ideas (in the vein of "True Romance") or... crap, deservingly on that bottom shelf of the video rental store. well, it ain't no "True Romance", but as a "fan" of J G-L, I'm glad to say it's closer to it than the other end. It starts out well, drags an hour or so, but FULLY redeems itself in the end, that is, in small-movie terms, with all the pieces coming together nicely. For fans of challenging thrillers, or, if you liked "Lakeview Terrce", this is definitely a better choice than "Hancock".
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