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The Lookout (2007)

DVD Cover (Miramax)
Director:
Scott Frank Scott Frank
Starring:
Joseph Gordon-Levitt Joseph Gordon-Levitt
Jeff Daniels Jeff Daniels
Matthew Goode Matthew Goode
Isla Fisher Isla Fisher
Carla Gugino Carla Gugino

6.9 / 10 - Overall Rating

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Genres: Caper, Crime, Crime Thriller
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Review by bluemeanie
Added: April 03, 2007
When I first saw the trailer for "The Lookout", I assumed it was going to be hitting theatres in limited release, and I highly doubted it was going to roll around to Birmingham. So, I just owned up to the idea that I would be waiting for the DVD release to catch it. Lo and behold, Miramax and Spyglass Entertainment decided they had enough faith in the film to give it a semi-wide release, an odd move considering there aren't really any notable stars attached, and even more odd considering it's the stereotypical limited release film. Don't get me wrong, I'm glad they did - it turned out to be one of the best movie-watching experienced I've had all year long, but it just didn't translate well for their box office, and it will probably hurt the film in the long run. That's one of the problems facing specialty studios these days - to continue releasing films like "The Lookout" through the traditional limited release methods, or roll out in a semi-wide release and hope for the best?

The film opens with four teenage friends barreling down an isolated road in the middle of nowhere, namely Kansas. Chris Pratt (Joseph Gordon-Levitt), high school hockey star and the most popular kid in school, is driving and turns the lights off so they can all experience somewhat of a lightning bug phenomenon in Kansas. When he turns the lights on, he's already feet away from a hulking combine that's sitting in the middle of the run. What happens next kills two of his best friends, takes the leg of his girlfriend and causes him irreparable brain damage. We flash forward to Chris living his life through routine and memorization. The most mundane tasks seem challenging. He lives with a blind man named Lewis (Jeff Daniels), who helps take care of him; he takes classes at the local learning difficulties school; he works as a janitor at a nearby bank, where he wants to work his way up to teller. His parents merely humor him and he is easily frustrated with life. One day he meets an old high school friend named Gary (Matthew Goode), who befriends him, introduces him to a girl and seems to be a nice change of pace. In reality, Gary leads a group of criminals who wants to rob a bank and use Chris as their easily persuaded pawn in the whole thing. While the first half of the film is brilliant character study, the second half is all about human nature.

There is so much good here. I loved the way Chris narrates his day - 'took a bath...with soap'. I love the interaction between Chris' character and Lewis' character - two handicapped people with a lot in common and a lot to learn from one another. I love the interactions between Chris and his family - they obviously love him and want him to be all right, but do use his handicap as a way of just humoring him and keeping him mildly satisfied. This film reminded me a lot of the Sam Raimi film "A Simple Plan", an incredibly fine film. Like "A Simple Plan", this film starts off by introducing us to this character - these characters - and giving us a peak into how they work and why they work. The film then shifts gears and turns into something of a heist film, but not just any heist film. It doesn't totally change pace and it doesn't totally lose track. "The Lookout" keeps this level of mystery to it in that we really don't know how well the lead character is going to operate under any situation, much less a high-stress situation like a bank robbery.

Another added bonus - the performances. With "Mysterious Skin" and "Brick" preceding this one, Joseph Gordon-Levitt might be the best young actor working in Hollywood. He is building up a very impressive resume and his range as an actor is incredible. With the previously mentioned films and this one, he has tackled three distinctly different characters and turned them all into memorable and unique individuals. As his blind roommate Lewis, Jeff Daniels takes a supporting role and milks it for all its worth. He could have easily fell victim to the stereotypical blind character, but turns in a nuanced and subtle performance that is a real highlight of the film. Matthew Goode turns in the best performance of his career as the seedy and reprehensible Gary Spargo. The scene where he is convincing Chris to help them rob the bank is pure brilliance and he handled the scene so well and with such aim. These three performances are the crux of the film and they are all three executed with skill and talent that helps turn "The Lookout" into a truly wonderful cinematic experience.

All of that said, please go and check out "The Lookout". It deserves your money and it deserves your time. It's rare when a film like this gets rolled out into wide release, so enjoy it when it does actually come around. "The Lookout" was skillfully directed by Scott Frank, brilliantly acted by everyone involved and one of the best movie-going experienced I have had all year. I was glued to the screen the entire time, though some of that had to do with the fact that Joseph Gordon-Levitt is rather handsome indeed. So, when you're standing in line at the multiplex, thinking about what to see and your choices are the new Will Ferrell film or "Ghost Rider" - I do hope you'll take a chance on a film that will entertain the hell out of you, even though you probably don't know what in the hell it's about. Be on the lookout for "The Lookout" - take my word for it.

9.5/10.
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Lucid Dreams #1: Lucid Dreams - added 09/13/2010, 02:25 PM
A very good movie. I can't believe this just went on unnoticed and that pisses me off when all these shitty films make #1. 10/10
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