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Overall Rating

Worth A Look: 39.06%
Just Average: 4.69%
Pretty Crappy: 1.56%
Sucks: 0%

8 reviews, 16 user ratings

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Lookout, The
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by Eugene Novikov

"The crown jewel of SXSW."
4 stars

SCREENED AT THE 2007 SOUTH BY SOUTHWEST FILM FESTIVAL: An air of melancholy pervades Scott Frank's remarkable The Lookout, a heist film where the heist is a red herring, and a tender, insightful character study forms the core. In the middle of a hectic festival day, it made time stop, and sent me into a contemplative haze. Though purporting to be an entry into a genre that usually values cleverness and kineticism for their own sakes, the movie takes the time to focus on its characters, and forsakes plot twists for sadness and heartbreak. It's one of my favorite films of the year.

The tragedy at the center of The Lookout is a man who went from being able to do virtually anything to being able to do nothing. An act of teenage foolishness sends high school star Chris Pratt (Joseph Gordon-Levitt) and three friends careening into a stopped train, leaving Chris without basic short-term memory or coordination, dependent on a little notebook where he writes himself reminders and "sequences" his day. He lives with a blind 1-800-Flowers operator (Jeff Daniels) and works as a night-time janitor in a bank; his family and most of his co-workers and friends, such as he has, condescend to him in an effort to be understanding; his caseworker (Carla Gugino) wonders why there are no women in his life. Sometimes, standing in front of the mirror in the morning, he starts to cry. So when, four years after the accident, an old school (Matthew Goode) "runs into" Chris at a bar and unveils a plan that, he promises, will give him at least a vestige of his life back ("whoever has the money, has the power"), he is tempted almost despite himself.

Frank finds a window into his protagonist's soul. The film doesn't condescend to him like the characters do; he's lost everything he had taken for granted, and his rage, his anger, his depression are palpable. What he discovers, and the way he ultimately comes around, are Frank's most powerful and moving insights here. The heist plot -- which, frankly, could have been handled better -- is merely a vehicle for this, which is perhaps why the plot unfolds straightforwardly, without time jumps, chronological breaks, or other flashy structural gimmicks.

Joseph Gordon-Levitt, a truly staggering talent, follows up Brick by creating another wholly compelling character -- sad, a little mysterious, and ultimately heroic. And Scott Frank, one of the best-regarded Hollywood screenwriters, shows that he can transcend Elmore Leonard novels and even Spielberg extravaganzas. This is a minor-key gem, molding the trappings of the heist flick genre for its own, much higher ends. I've been thinking about it nonstop since I saw it.

(Reprinted from filmblather.com)

link directly to this review at http://www.hollywoodbitchslap.com/review.php?movie=15610&reviewer=419
originally posted: 03/11/07 14:56:43
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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

9/21/17 morris campbell good not great 4 stars
10/31/08 Shaun Wallner Well made. 5 stars
8/11/08 R.W. Welch Slow in spots with a too tidy ending; still worth a look. 4 stars
7/29/08 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
10/23/07 Fred A great film very similar to fargo 4 stars
10/04/07 JT Lindroos Fine balance of modern and classic heist-noir. 4 stars
9/13/07 Monday Morning Very nice - 4 stars
8/18/07 fools♫gold It's DAMN ok. 100% 5 stars
7/02/07 William Goss Straight-forward crime drama is admirably modest, but curiously insubstantial. 3 stars
4/30/07 Charles Utter I went for the writing, but received even more rewards. Three act perfection. 5 stars
4/10/07 Adam Bad, bad writing. Lots of loose ends and bad characters: namely Bone and Deputy Donut. 2 stars
4/08/07 Mimi I LOVED "The Lookout". I'm trying to find out who played "Mr. Bones" though 5 stars
4/04/07 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
4/02/07 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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