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|Index||151 reviews in total|
As a Chinese and I am actually not very interested in that so called
"independent movie", however, I like this movie very much just as the
other LEVITT's works(sorry, I know little about the director-Scott
Frank)i.e."Brick" and "Mysterious Skin".
Unfortunately, I am afraid that out of North America esp.out of the English native countries, there are few people who know about Levitt. I tried once introducing Brick to one of my friend and he showed no interesting, which hurts me a little.
However, I believe that the gold shines anyway. So let's wait and see till when will Levitt be as familiar as some super actors! I am looking forward.
Some films are like a house of cards; each part serves a purpose and
the film can't work if one of them doesn't fit. Others rely on a single
aspect of the film, where everything else just supports the focal
"The Lookout" is a part of the latter category. To be sure, all of the film's components are first-rate, but this film clearly belongs to Joseph Gordon-Levitt. The young star creates a character on which the rest of the film is built upon. Without Chris Pratt, "The Lookout" would be very different. Joseph Gordon-Levitt is sensational; his Chris Pratt is one of the most tragic characters ever to hit the screen. It's a well written part, and it could have been played a number of different ways. A lesser actor could have gone for the Oscar route and played Chris as a character that begs for sympathy and tears from the audience. But "The Lookout" is not "Ordinary People," it is above all a heist film, and Gordon-Levitt understands that. Gordon-Levitt plays Chris simply as a person who has a brain injury, and writer-director Scott Frank not only focuses on the heist instead of the tragedy of the brain injury, but he utilizes this plot element to create the story.
The story is rather simple, and could easily have been made into a Disney movie (almost). Again, Scott Frank thankfully resists that temptation. Chris Pratt was a golden-boy high schooler until a car crash left him with a "moderately severe brain injury." Now he has some physical difficulties and some mental disabilities that completely alter his personality and his life. Now he goes to a school for people with disabilities and works as a janitor at a bank. Enter Gary, who seduces Chris into helping him rob a bank with the promise of giving Chris his old life back. It helps that Chris begins romancing Luvlee Lemons, one of the members of Gary's gang. However, complications ensue.
Apart from the Gordon-Levitt, "The Lookout" provides an excellent supporting cast. Matthew Goode, who broke out into the film world with his performance as an amicable, but nonetheless filthy rich snob in Woody Allen's "Match Point," does a complete change of character here. There is no doubt that Gary is a villain, but for the most part, Gary is a pretty okay guy (at least seen through Chris's eyes). Anyone who's seen the trailer knows that Gary is not a good person, but for most of the movie, Goode doesn't play Gary as a sinister criminal. It is easy to buy how Chris would become friends with Gary and get sucked into this violent scheme. Jeff Daniels is solid as Lewis, Chris's blind roommate and best friend. He doesn't service the plot very much, only to serve as the obligatory character who causes Chris to question whether or not the recent changes in his life are too good to be true. But it's kudos to Scott Frank and Jeff Daniels to create a character out of the otherwise obligatory role. Lewis is a free-spirit, and in some ways a mentor to Chris. Isla Fisher is great as the quiet Luvlee, the love interest. Other than her appearance, she bears no resemblance to her scene-stealing character in "Wedding Crashers." Scott Frank has written an intelligent script, one that is developed but doesn't turn the brain into knots by requiring the viewer to think very hard while watching it. He clearly knows what he's doing with a pen and paper, and if this film gives evidence to his skills as a director, it is safe to say that he has skills working with the camera as well. As I said before, he does this film a great service by making this film primarily a heist film, and not a tear-jerker. He has enough confidence in Chris's character and the talent of his star to allow the character to gain sympathy on its own. This makes it a better movie because it accomplishes two goals at once.
Even as brilliant as Joseph Gordon-Levitt is, he almost plays Chris too well. Maybe it's just me, but Chris Pratt was such a tragic individual that it made this movie more of a downer than it needed to be, and in some ways it hurt the "heist" atmosphere, though that doesn't really come into play until the final quarter. Maybe that's what Scott Frank intended the movie to be like, but it's hard to say. Also, there are some unanswered questions with the Luvlee character. Her presence is not played out as much as it should be. I'm being vague, yes, but I don't want to give anything away.
Overall, "The Lookout is a solid first-effort behind the chair of Scott Frank, and it should gather a lot of attention to Joseph Gordon-Levitt. It's both an intriguing character study and a solid heist film that is well-worth a watch.
It's a shame these indie films don't get more exposure...this is by far
one of the best movies I've seen in the past year - but, again, I have
never seen a movie that is NOT good that has Joseph Gordon-Levitt in
it. That young man is excellent in Brick and Mysterious Skin.
All the characters are so well done - writing was excellent...and all the actors - Jeff Daniels, Isla Fisher, and Matthew Goode did a fine job of sort of "under acting"...rare these days to see in any films...but just makes the film such a jewel. (I also loved the job done by Deputy Donut - Sergio Di Tio).
I especially loved the cinematography....the locations and lighting were great - as well as the handling of the cameras...not a bunch of jumping around...a nice, still, quiet way to present the movie and let the actors go with it..instead of interfering w/the story.
In 1998, George Clooney co-starred alongside then pop-diva, Jennifer
Lopez, 'in Out of Sight,' a film by Oscar-winning director Steven
Soderbergh. The film was hailed by critical masses as one of that
year's best and received two Academy Award nominations, one of which
was for its screenplay, which was adapted from the same-titled Elmore
Leonard novel by screenwriter Scott Frank. Since then, Frank has
accumulated quite a resume one that includes writing credits for
Spielberg's critically-acclaimed box office smash, 'Minority Report,'
and the star-studded Hollywood satire, 'Get Shorty' (also first a novel
by Elmore Leonard), which was released prior to 'Out of Sight,' in
1995. However, Frank had never taken a stab behind the camera not
until 'The Lookout' and, basing his talent as a director on this
film, I wonder why.
Chris Pratt had everything. Once a teenage prodigy, Pratt (Joseph Gordon-Levitt) was the star of his high school's hockey team, raised in an upper-class family, and was the apple of every girl's eye. One night, while driving with his girlfriend and two others, Pratt lost it all to a terrible car accident. Now the janitor of a small town bank, Pratt struggles daily with physical and mental consequences of that night. Feeling psychologically abandoned by his family, and without friends, Chris finds his only company in a middle-aged blind man named Lewis (Jeff Daniels), whom he shares his apartment with. Yearning for more in life a more respectable job, female companionship Chris is left vulnerable to Gary (Matthew Goode), a con whose intentions are to rob the bank at which Chris works. Pratt forms a friendship with Gary and even falls for a former-dancer named Luvlee (Isla Fisher), herself a friend of Gary's. "Whoever has the money has the power." Unfortunately for Chris, Gary is power-bent, caring not for a friendship with Chris, but rather for Chris' access to the bank's vault.
As previously acknowledged, Frank's writing ability is boundless, and 'The Lookout' will only increase the realization of that fact. Joseph Gordon-Levitt is captivating as the tormented 24-year-old, delivering a profoundly emotional performance that will sneak under your skin and tear itself out by film's end. Daniels is convincing as the blind friend, whose life experiences have evolved into wisdom, which he volunteers to Chris. Daniels is also the film's comic relief, which, actually, gives this already thrilling film some much-appreciated charm. In her brief screen time, Isla Fisher provides a supple romantic subplot and entices with her sexy character, Luvlee. Matthew Goode, as the malevolent mastermind behind the impending robbery, delivers a riveting, completely absorbing performance. In fact, don't be surprised if you find his name on the nominee list, next to Frank (for his screenplay), come Oscar time.
'The Lookout' is a compelling study about the effects of past mistakes and the consequences that come with such, enthralling because of its broken protagonist, its gripping, crime-toting side-story, its talented cast and its fine-tuned dialogue. As one of 2007's most inspired, lucidly scripted motion pictures, Scott Frank's directorial debut will soon be regarded as a classic and may do what last year's 'Little Miss Sunshine' did when February rolls around. "Whoever has the money has the power." Well, for the price of a rental or, if you're feeling over-zealous, the DVD you can experience this powerful example of a well-constructed movie.
I'll follow Joseph Gordon-Levitt wherever he chooses to go. After two knockout performances (Mysterious Skin and Brick), it was clear that he had something. With his new film The Lookout, he more or less solidifies the notion that he's one of this generation's best actors. That is, if he even needed to do a third film to prove that. But, yes, he is just as impressive here as he was in his previous two films, playing a young man who has suffered major brain trauma. He himself is responsible for the injury, having crashed his car in a silly fit of teenage romanticism, killing two of his friends and maiming his girlfriend besides what he has done to himself. Now he mainly pines for his old, normal life, and browbeats himself with guilt. He works at a small town bank as the night watchman / janitor, and his disability (and his guilt and anger) makes him the perfect target for conman Gary Spargo (Matthew Goode). Looking at it from the outside, The Lookout contains a lot of clichés, especially in the colorful supporting characters. It also shares a lot of similarities to Christopher Nolan's Memento. But the film survives for a couple of reasons. First, the actors are all just excellent. Even though inhabiting cliché characters like the kindly Midwestern cop (Sergio Di Zio), the bimbo stripper (Isla Fisher) or the wisecracking blind guy (Jeff Daniels), every actor brings his or her A game. And I wouldn't discount writer/director Scott Frank's abilities either. I mean, these people are cliché in a lot of ways, but he brings them all a step up with his smartly written dialogue. I especially like how he gives Isla Fisher's character a very human face even while simultaneously joking about how dense she is. And that's the second reason that the film turns out to be really good, that Frank focuses so much on the characters. The protagonist, Chris Pratt, is one of the more tragic characters to come out of Hollywood in recent years. The crime film / thriller elements of the film probably wouldn't be half as involving if not for characters that I really cared about. All in all, I was extremely entertained by The Lookout. It's the best film I've seen so far this year.
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
What happens when someone takes a masterpiece like "Fargo" and replaces
the quirky, darkly comic and bleak tale with a centered story about the
trappings of youth and the delusions of immortality? Why, you end up
with a film like "The Lookout," which contrary to the opinions of so
many, really is not a clone of a film like "Memento," or for that
matter of "Fargo," although the parallels with the latter are
impossible to miss.
The story surrounds the life of Chris Pratt, a young man who on the night of his high school prom, had everything a young man could ever want: the admiration of those around him, a great car, wealthy family, beautiful girlfriend and a promising hockey career. Indeed, in a couple of scenes in the movie, there is a cocky and yet grounded demeanor to Chris that should be so familiar to everyone who ever went to high school or ever lived in a small town.
Then, on the night of that prom, as he tried to show his girlfriend the beauty of the fireflies on a stretch of road unpolluted by street lamps, Chris is involved in a car crash which kills two and leaves him scarred.
Four years after the accident, Chris tries to put the pieces of his life together, but the head injury from that night limits what he is capable of doing physically, and the memories of that night haunt him emotionally. The admired athlete succumbs to a bland life of routine in which his needs are taken care of by his parents, and his day to day challenges are overcome with the help of his blind roommate Lewis.
One night, while he is enjoying a beer at the local bar, he meets Gary, a man a bit older who explains that he once dated Chris' sister. Gary becomes the object of Chris' adulation because he is able to do things that Chris himself is unable to do: talk to women, remember things that have just happened, and ultimately relate to his surroundings. Indeed, through Gary, Chris meets Luvlee, a girl who was familiar with the guy Chris used to be.
Slowly but surely, Chris is pulled further and further away from his family and Lewis, and closer and closer to Luvlee, and through her, to Gary and his crew. This of course was planned all along, for the plans they have are to rob the bank that Chris routinely cleans.
This movie is much more straight played than Fargo, and so even though the "good guy" throws in with the bad folk, and there are some violent happenings that shake the story up, none of it is played to be darkly comic or quirky. Indeed, in a story like this, where promise has been lost in a car accident, and the fragility of life is put to the test, there is no room for Fargo-esquire subplots. The story doesn't need them.
The movie is carried along largely off the strength of acting of both Joseph Gordon-Levitt and Jeff Daniels. As the young man coming to terms with what he has become, Gordon-Levitt is brilliant- there is a simplicity, a vulnerability, indeed an almost innocent demeanor to him after the accident that lends so much credibility to what has happened to him. This contrasts so well with the few scenes in which he appears brash, cocky and so full of promise.
Daniels, as some have already suggested, pulls off the comic relief, but there is also a bitterness and jaded reserve to him that lends authenticity to his performance as well. After all, a man who's been "turned down more than the beds at the Holiday Inn" couldn't be happy go lucky all the time: his conversation with Luvlee seems in part guided by concern for Chris, and in other part resentful that he doesn't have a woman in his life.
I think there is a very real chance, after seeing Ryan Gossling nominated for "Full Nelson," that Joseph Gordon-Levitt may see an Oscar nomination: if he does, it will be well deserved for this performance. Fargo it ain't, but go in with an open mind, and prepare to be blown away...and you may just find a film that in some ways works much better than Fargo.
A film that feels much more real.
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
THE LOOKOUT (2007) ***1/2 Joseph Gordon-Levitt, Jeff Daniels, Matthew Goode, Isla Fisher, Carla Gugino, Bruce McGill, Alberta Watson, Alex Borstein, Sergio Di Zio, David Huband, Laura Vandervoort, Greg Dunham, Morgan Kelly, Aaron Berg, Tinsel Korey. Absorbing neo-noir drama written and directed by Scott Frank (his debut in the latter) focuses on a damaged goods janitor (Gordon-Levitt proving to be the best American actor of his generation alongside Ryan Gosling), a former high school hockey star who suffered permanent damage in a car accident causing him to keep a notepad handy for the simplest tasks, befriended by a local scumbag (a very good Goode), enlisting him to aid in knocking off the bank he cleans for. Gritty, surprisingly poignant and blackly funny character driven genre flick rises above its expectations thanks to a skillful cast including Daniels as Gordon-Levitt's randy blind roommate who sees more than his friend does.
When I first found out about this movie, the whole premise didn't
really seem too great. An Athlete gets in an accident then decides to
rob a bank. THAT IS NOT THE WHOLE STORY as a matter of fact that is
nothing like the story. Here's a snip it A senior in high school who
has everything going for him (star hockey player) gets in a life
changing accident. He is now very dependent on others although he tries
do do a lot of things for himself, including living with a blind
roommate (who by the way is played by the amazing Jeff Daniels) Anyways
he works at a bank as a Janitor and every night he goes to the town
bar. One night he befriends a guy and meets a nice looking girl. As he
gets more into the scene he realize that he is a pawn in their game to
help them rob the bank. He is THE LOOKOUT. Well I don't want to give
away much more but let me give you this advice. I was lucky enough to
have this movie open in my city (which isn't very big) and When I
looked at the box office numbers I was disappointed only 955 theaters
and a total of 2.3 million? This movie deserves a lot more attention.
We need to support actual GREAT films and show that movie goers want
GREAT films not stupid comedies *cough* WILD HOGS *cough* Anyways go
and pay to see this film right away you wont be disappointed 8/10
**While you go to see this film I HIGHLY recommend Reign Over Me it is a really good film
So I was actually going to see "The Reaping which got terrible reviews when at the theater I noticed "The Lookout" was playing and I am a HUGE Joseph Gordon-Levitt fan so I decided to see this movie instead. Thank you divine intervention because it literally made my week! You cared about the characters for once and what happened to them, it was not confusing even though the subject matter was somewhat incomplete until the end of the movie. All in all I thought it was amazing. As usual Joseph Gordon-Levitt played a character whom had been through something most of us had not and yet we are still able to relate with him as we watch his story progress. Scott Frank I bow down and commend you for your feature debut. Hopefully mine is as good as yours.
I find it interesting that Joseph Gordon-Levitt was in what I felt was
the worst or certainly the most overrated film of 2005 "Brick" and now
his next crime thriller indie is one that rivals Blood Simple and
Memento as a truly classic independent crime thriller. He was very good
in the awful "Brick" and he is is really great here, but so is everyone
in this fine cast. I love director Scott Franks style and clever
script. This might be called more a character piece than a thriller
with the moments between Gordon-Levitt and Jeff Daniels being perhaps
the most powerful part of the film. No, scratch that; there are a
plethora of powerful parts to this film. Isla Fisher is simply
beautiful and a chance encounter with her and Jeff Daniels is probably
the films most quotable scene but having only seen it once I don't want
to ruin Mr. Franks fine writing by misquoting from it and I also don't
want to spoil anything at all about this film.
I don't think Joseph Gordon-Levitt will be remembered at awards time, but I hope he is. Jeff Daniels and Matthew Goode are equally deserving for their great work.
This is not a thriller that has you gripping the arms of your seat from the first scene. It's strengths are in the depth of the characters that Franks so skillfully brings out with wonderful camera work, a phenomenal cast and a very clever script. In essence it is more a character study than a pure thriller, and those viewers that may be disappointed by it will be looking more for thrills than this film may deliver. One of the films greatest strengths is that Levitts character is introduced to us four years after a terrible accident. We know he is in a state of recovery and at least as I watched the film I was almost subconsciously looking for signs of improvement in his mental state. Rooting for him to be the young man he once was. Don't miss this film.
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