The Lookout (2007)
|Genre(s): Crime / Drama|
|Miramax || R - 99 minutes - $29.99 || August 14, 2007|
|Reviewer: Brian Oliver || Posted On: 2007-08-14|
Writer(s): Scott Frank (written by)
Cast: Joseph Gordon-Levitt, Jeff Daniels, Matthew Goode, Bruce McGill, Isla Fisher, Carla Gugino
Theatrical Release Date: March 30, 2007
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Plot Outline (from DVD Back Cover): Chris “Slapshot” Pratt (Gordon-Levitt), whose once-bright future has been dimmed by a head injury, is a night janitor at a bank. Lonely and frustrated, Chris falls prey to a con man’s seductive promise of romance and a better life, and agrees to help rob the bank where he works.
“Whoever has the money has the power.”
After reading so much about Scott Frank’s praised directorial debut, I was actually under-whelmed after viewing The Lookout. There’s no doubt Frank is a talented writer, penning and adapting movies like Get Shorty, Out of Sight, Minority Report and The Interpreter. This script is solid, yet I wasn’t blown away. That said, I think The Lookout is actually one of the best movies of 2007, so far.
Although the story falls short, it’s still engrossing and combined with another subtle yet great performance by Joseph Gordon-Levitt, it’s a shame Lookout received little love at the box office and will sadly be missed when the awards season comes around.
Gordon-Levitt’s choices of late have shown him to be a serious actor, not the same kid from 10 Things I Hate About You or TV’s “Third Rock from the Sun”. Along with Mysterious Skin, he also had a low-key performance in 2006’s Brick, set in modern day America but using old school film noir dialogue. However, Gordon-Levitt goes to a new level. What he does in The Lookout wasn’t just take a character with a head injury and played it over the top but instead plays it quiet and with finesse.
Co-starring alongside are Jeff Daniels as Pratt’s blind hippie-ish roommate, Matthew Goode as the con man who uses Pratt to rob a bank and Isla Fisher (Wedding Crashers) as the woman who lures Pratt in. The lovely Carla Gugino (Sin City) has a small role as Pratt’s caseworker and veteran Bruce McGill as Pratt’s in denial father.
My biggest issue with The Lookout stems from the fact it doesn’t quite go all the way when it comes to the robbery itself. Yes, Gordon-Levitt’s performance is amazing and I think if writer/director Frank had taken this as a straight-up drama rather than a drama-thriller, it could’ve worked better. It’s obvious Frank isn’t your typical writer and he avoids the dramatic clichés of injured characters that, in many cases, are obvious Oscar-bate, but it seemed the bank robbery was unnecessary.
Overall, though, I still highly recommend the movie for Joseph Gordon-Levitt and a still above average script. Certainly, it has flaws but at the same time, it’s a great (or at least very good) movie that deserves a viewing, just lower your expectations.
Filmmakers’ Commentary - Writer/director Scott Frank and Director of Photography Alar Kivilo sit down for a strictly technical and informative commentary. Frank seems to do most of the talking and rarely makes mention of anything other than camera techniques or set design. He mentions some of the good acting but stays on the technical track throughout. As good of a track this is, one with Frank and a cast member would’ve been nice.
Behind the Mind of Chris Pratt (9:26) - This features interviews with the cast and Scott Frank focusing on the Chris Pratt character. Joseph Gordon-Levitt gets most of the time as he explains how he got into the character and what he wanted and didn’t want to do, and also research the varying degrees of brain injuries.
Sequencing The Lookout (19:58) - ‘Making-of’ featurette goes through the motions with more sound bites from many involved taking us from development to filming.
.::AUDIO & VIDEO::.
The Lookout is presented in anamorphic widescreen and looks nearly perfect. There was one scene, and this is mentioned in the commentary, that looked a bit off as Frank used a digital medium and although most looks great, an action sequence toward the end looked digital (think Michael Mann’s Collateral or Miami Vice).
The Dolby Digital 5.1 track is perfectly suitable with most sounds being dialogue-centric with some action coming toward the end. A French language track is also available and English, Spanish and French subtitles are included (and commentary subtitles for the hard of hearing).
The Lookout is a movie that could’ve been something more but instead with the hype preceding it, it comes down as an under-whelming achievement. Not disappointing, mind you, it just didn’t meet expectations. As it stands, it’s still a good film with great performances and a nice style for first-time director Scott Frank. The DVD is lacking but not unexpected given its box office receipts. What is there is fine and should be interesting to fans of the movie.