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Overall Rating

Worth A Look: 39.06%
Average: 4.69%
Pretty Bad: 1.56%
Total Crap: 0%

8 reviews, 16 user ratings

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Lookout, The
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by Jason Whyte

"A solid first feature from writer Scott Frank."
5 stars

SCREENED AT THE 2007 SXSW FILM FESTIVAL: “The Lookout” is a fascinating and multi-layered crime noir that reminded me of the works of Carl Franklin (“One False Move”, “Devil in a Blue Dress”) and Elmore Leonard. This comes as no surprise as director Scott Frank penned the adaptation script of Leonard’s “Out of Sight” back in 1998 and is taking his first shot at the director chair here. And it couldn't be a better debut.

In high school, Chris Pratt (Joseph Gordon Levitt) was at the top of his game. He was a hockey star, came from a rich family and had career goals. Suddenly, a car crash renders him crippled, and as we go ahead a few years we discover him as an overnight janitor in a bank. Chris, somewhat lonely and staying away from his family, finds solace in living with a blind caretaker (Jeff Daniels). Chris also has a sole friend in a bank guard who makes a stop every evening to visit.

Enter Gary (Matthew Goode), who went to school with Chris and looked up to him in his heyday. Unbeknownst to Chris, Gary has a background in organized crime and is planning to convince Chris to act as a “lookout” as they do their robbery. Chris, who deep down wants an escape or reward for the problems in his life, gravitates towards Gary as he draws him down into his world.

I love the cool persona of Gary. In a lesser movie, Gary would approach Chris and try to get him in on the heist in the first meet. But Gary is much smarter than that, slowly infiltrating himself into Chris’ life, throwing Luvlee at him and slightly revealing the heist when Chris’ guard is down.

And somehow, so brilliantly, we come to go along with the heist and Gary’s entire plot. As the scheming bad guy, Brit Matthew Goode completely disappears into this role and makes it his own. I remember first seeing him in the lousy “Chasing Liberty” but knowing that he had star potential, and with this and “Match Point”, he’s already there in my books.

The real star here, however, is Joseph Gordon Levitt, who never ceases to amaze me and is slowly becoming one of my favorite actors. I used to remember him as the long haired alien in “3rd Rock From The Sun” and went on to star against Julia Stiles in “10 Things I Hate About You”. Levitt seems to have rejected the whole “Hollywood Thing” and instead focused strongly on deeper characters in more prestigious films. He may not win an Academy Award for this one, but he’s still awesome in the film, and one day he will.

Scott Frank, working from his own script, does an excellent job and slowly revealing the suspense and giving the characters enough room to breathe and interact with each other. Not only was I wrapped up in the story, but I was also right with the ups and downs of each and every character in the movie. Even that friendly security guard gets valid screen time in the film.

The film is so effective that we forgive some of the narrative and logistical flaws and go for the ride. The characters are so well rounded, the dialogue crisp to a tee and the suspense you can cut with a knife. Here is one of the best films of the early year.

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originally posted: 03/21/07 16:07:36
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OFFICIAL SELECTION: 2007 South By Southwest Film Festival For more in the 2007 South By Southwest Film Festival series, click here.

User Comments

9/22/17 morris campbell good not great 4 stars
11/01/08 Shaun Wallner Well made. 5 stars
8/12/08 R.W. Welch Slow in spots with a too tidy ending; still worth a look. 4 stars
7/30/08 mr.mike Good , and the actors are fine , but movie could have been more compelling 4 stars
11/18/07 Brian Mckay Well written thriller with shades of Memento. Solid performances all around. 4 stars
10/24/07 Fred A great film very similar to fargo 4 stars
10/05/07 JT Lindroos Fine balance of modern and classic heist-noir. 4 stars
9/14/07 Monday Morning Very nice - 4 stars
8/19/07 fools♫gold It's DAMN ok. 100% 5 stars
7/03/07 William Goss Straight-forward crime drama is admirably modest, but curiously insubstantial. 3 stars
5/01/07 Charles Utter I went for the writing, but received even more rewards. Three act perfection. 5 stars
4/11/07 Adam Bad, bad writing. Lots of loose ends and bad characters: namely Bone and Deputy Donut. 2 stars
4/09/07 Mimi I LOVED "The Lookout". I'm trying to find out who played "Mr. Bones" though 5 stars
4/05/07 Ole Man Bourbon It's OK. Daniels and the other supporting guy are the highlights. 3 stars
4/04/07 Marty cast hit or miss, slow starter, sloppy writing lacking clarity. get over this movie 3 stars
4/03/07 Denise I saw this movie last night and it has been on my mind ever since. 5 stars
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  30-Mar-2007 (R)
  DVD: 14-Aug-2007

  02-Nov-2007 (15)


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