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8/10 When you look at Scott Frank's writing credits --especially "Minority Report" and "Out Of Sight"-- it is really no surprise that this is an unusually smart and entertaining crime drama.3 years ago
It is an "adult movie" in the best sense of that term.
This is a beautifully bleak looking movie where all the color is in the characters and their behavior. The acting is top notch. I've never seen this Levitt kid before, but he captures emotional and intellectual numbness with a finesse I haven't seen since Guy Pierce's work in "Memento". It is a tough role and he hits it out of the park. Jeff Daniels is Oscar-worthy as his best friend and Matthew Goode plays a guy who you know sheds more than one skin each year. Isla Fisher is a welcome ray of sunlight in this dark tale.
It is the anti-"300" (which I liked a lot). This movie really sneaks up on you, it doesn't bludgeon you but before you know it you are totally spellbound by it.
I'll be looking forward to the next movie directed (and written) by Scott Frank.
What film making is about
10/10 This is incredibly entertaining and solid piece of film making, by Scott Frank. The film travels on a road that its laid out for the audience to see steps ahead, but that never matters, b/c you are constantly in suspense over what will happen to the incredibly well drawn characters in the film. Frank also shows tons of directorial flair to accompany his writing prowess. The whole cast was amazing, Matthew Goode is completely unrecognizable and is perfect in the film. Jeff Daniels again dons a Beard and steals his scenes, every line of his dialog either makes you laugh, think or just compels the movie forward, and Joseph Gordon Levitt again proves why he is capable of being one of the next great movie stars. Go see this movie and tell your friends to do the same.3 years ago
This is the kind of film Hollywood should be making,
An absorbing study of depression and rehabilitation
5/10 So you want a good heist film? See Dog Day Afternoon, as tense a study in botched robbery and kidnapping to come out of the '70's as any. Don't think the sweet Lookout will carry the same tension because it so heavily relies on the character exposition of its protagonist, Chris (Joseph Gordon-Levitt), that the heist is just an artful ending to an absorbing study of depression and rehabilitation.3 years ago
Chris, a rock-star hockey player in high school, terminates that celebrity with a reckless accident that leaves him impaired emotionally and physically. So he's easy prey for a gang that entices him to help them rob a rural Kansas bank, where he is a janitor. Up to the point of the gang contacting him, Chris tries heroically to perform actions in a logical sequence. But even his family, especially his father, is impatient with his arrested development, although they are generous in financially supporting him as he goes on the mend.
Writer/director Scott Frank rarely lets Chris out of the frame, to good effect, because the actor and his lamentable past draw us into his narrow world in sympathy but not pity. Chris is determined to arrange his life in a sequence, with the help of his notebook and roomie, a blind and perceptive, bearded, guitar-playing Jeff Daniels, whose lines provide humor and balancing perspective as Chris slips into the heist. Both actors exude realistic, humorous, world weary personas that perfectly reveal the ambivalence Chris brings to this life-defining crime.
The Lookout is a small film, released at dumping time right after the Oscars, but an invigorating study of humans under stress. It begs all of us to "lookout" where we are going, either on a lonely road with our lights turned off or in a plan to steal from farmers who have made life possible.
Non-Formulaic Mixture of Heist Film and Character Drama
8/10 What was interesting about going to see The Lookout, for me, was the uncertainty with Scott Frank, the screenwriter who makes his directorial debut here. It would be one thing if he were a screenwriter whose work I've seen was all original. If his previous screenplays had been great original works, I'd be absolutely sure that he'd be a great director, but because the only films he's written that I've seen have been adaptations of Elmore Leonard novels and a Philip K. Dick story, it was not only the first time I'd see his direction by also the first time I'd experience his own story.3 years ago
I found that the script was great. I enjoy heist films possibly more than any other genre, and even though the heist itself is not so intricate and clever the way I prefer them the premise that sets up the gimmick used in the heist is quite clever. Really though, the film is not about the heist at all. It's about a very young person whose life is now completely different because of a car wreck that was all his fault. He has short term memory loss and deals with its shortcomings accompanied by horrible feelings of guilt for the deaths of his two friends and the maiming of his girlfriend. The movie at times seems a little uneven, because the makings of a thriller are intercut estrangedly with the makings of a slice-of-life drama. But both sides of the story work and it's generally fulfilling despite not being so tightly done. The movie is, upon reflection, reminiscent of realist films from the 1970s in its story and directorial style.
The cinematography and editing are adequate, yet strangely, in many scenes, particularly those that take place at the main character's family's home and those that takes place at the bank, have great atmosphere, a coziness.
What I admire about the movie is that it avoids cliches that seem on the very brink of being outrageous displays of them. For instance, there is the friendly airhead patrol cop that stops off at the bank every night to check up on things, bringing doughnuts and all, and we feel as if we know what will happen with him, and even now, one can't truly say it was or wasn't expected. The almost unbearably riveting climax, for instance, is for heist movie fans, a near-cliche, but wraps up with a fresh and new take on what we would expect. The characters are all inventive actually, and quite realistic.
Joseph Gordon-Levitt, a very young face without a name, will perhaps have a name now due to his deep, impressive performance in the title role. Jeff Daniels, however, has reached the point in his career where he steals every scene he is in, a la Michael Caine or Al Pacino, playing the sagacious and outgoing friend. Matthew Goode, playing the lead villain, is also a major plus for the cast. Leave it to an English actor to portray the villain with such a whispering convincing disposition that even we almost like him at first even though we are in on his scheme from the beginning. Greg Dunham, who plays another would-be cliche, the stoic sunglassed killer of only about five words in his vocabulary, avoids clichehood by somehow drawing such intense hatred from the audience that we are spared nothing by his cold and ruthless behavior.
The Lookout delivers.
9/10 I had a conversation with a friend earlier this week, regarding the lack of effort being put into films these days. In the 21st century, there are very few films worth seeing, in comparison to the earlier 80's, and 90's. Back then, there weren't 100's of movies being churned out a week, with only 1 or 2 being even half decent. This is the reason that this movie took me entirely by surprise.3 years ago
The movie is centered around Chris Pratt ( Josepth Gordon-Levitt), a partially handicapped man, in his earlier 20's. Chris used to live a great life, have great friends, and amazing talent on the ice. Now, after a car accident that changed his life, he suffers from slight mental handicaps, although they are prominently random, and don't have a major effect on the movie. Chris is still recovering from his car crash, and trying to move up in his job. He works at "Noah's Central Bank" as a Janitor, but has been pushing to be a teller for ages. Desperate for companions, Chris jumps at the first person to befriend him, and slowly falls into the wrong crowd. As Chris gets deeper and deeper in with his group of friends, he's pressured to help them with a robbery. Only catch: The heist is taking place at his bank.
Although the movie seems pretty straightforward, the plot can be deceiving. First of all, if you are going to this movie expecting a movie based solely around a bank heist ( a la Inside Man), go to blockbusters and rent "Dog Day Afternoon". This movie focuses, for the most part, around Chris, and his decent from an innocent, hard working Janitor, to a confused, misled, and frustrated individual. Although not of the same Hollywood callibur as movies such as Inside Man, it is still easily worth the ticket. Which brings me to my next point.
After seeing this movie, I felt refreshed. I went into a movie, expecting explosions, poor dialogue, and close ups of bodies being blown away. I couldn't of been farther off. This movie veers away from Hollywood, and it pulls it off miraculously. The dialogue is crisp, the violence existing, but not overused, and the characters deep. I may only be so impressed by this movie because of what I was expecting, but I none the less recommend it to anyone willing to actually think during a movie, rather than watch a bunch of cars blow up.