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4.0 out of 5 stars Brain Damaged Guy in Bank Heist Thriller.,
This review is from: The Lookout (DVD)This is another one of those films that slipped under the radar and I think deserves more attention. It stars the brilliantly versatile Joseph Gordon-Levitt (just made ‘Looper’ and so many more great films) as Chris Pratt. He was a promising ice hockey player and then one night whilst out with his girl friend and two bestest mates, he totals his car killing the friends and badly injuring Kelly. He wakes up some time later and has suffered brain damage. He now can not do sequencing so needs to write things down in a note book, all the time. He sometimes forgets things, gets angry and swears and can find everyday tasks impossible to do.
He lives with his blind friend Lewis, (the always excellent Jeff Daniels also ‘Looper and my fave ‘Gettysburg’) who is far more capable than Chris. He works as a night janitor at a country bank but his wealthy father still picks up the bills for major items. Chris just wants his old life back, but finds it hard to even open a can of tomatoes. Then as luck would have it he runs into a guy who was above him at school and he seems to really like him and even gets him to meet ex erotic dancer Luvlee Lemons (Isla Fisher who plays it with aplomb).
Soon he finds out why they are really interested in him and the title of the film is a bit of a clue. What we have here is an understated gem of a movie. It is a story of regret, failure, loss, love and realising what really matters in life and it is done in such a way that it all comes across as really believable. Alex Borstein appears as bank clerk Mrs Lange and ‘Family Guy’ aficionados out there will know she is the voice of Lois Griffin, just a small part here though.
I really enjoyed this film and was going for 5 stars as I am a bit of a fan of both Mr Daniels and Mr Gordon-Levitt so was prone to be biased, but in a pique of objective restraint I went for 4 as this is good, even ruddy good but not excellent . I often hear criticisms of Hollywood but there is a role for most films and ones like this prove how good American cinema can be, in both its originality and high production values, heck they even use ‘My Morning Jacket’ as the musical intro. Seriously recommended and I still want to up this to 5, so please think 4 and a bit.
2 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Please give this movie a chance,
1 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Matthew Goode is fantastic,
3 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars It is hard to rob a bank if you keep forgetting that is what you are doing,
"The Lookout" begins with Chris Pratt (Joseph Gordon-Levitt), a star high school hockey player in Kansas (really), who decides to impress a girl by driving down a country road with his headlights off at night so she can enjoy the beautiful fireflies. Of course this is a bad idea and four years later Chris has short-term memory issues because of the traumatic brain injury he received that fateful night. Chris has to use a notebook to keep his life ordered and is desperate to lead a normal life. He lives with Lewis (Jeff Daniels), who is older and blind, and the unlikely pair apparently fill gaps in each other's life. One night at a bar Chris is about to get ripped off by a bartender when he is rescued by Gary (Matthew Goode), who also introduces Chris to an ex-stripper named Luvlee Lemons (Isla Fisher). Apparently they remember Chris was his golden days and seem willing to treat him like he is still the guy who was broken the night of the accident. However, while Chris takes them at their word, we cannot, and our suspicions are confirmed when Gary recruits Chris to rob a bank. Not just any bank, of course, but the one where Chris works as a janitor. By this point in the film Gary is pushing all of the right buttons, and Chris agrees.
The last act of the film consists of the bank robbery and its aftermath, and having set up the rules of Chris's life and the way his mind works (his major problem is with sequencing), Frank has also set up the payoff for his film. The results are not brilliant, but they are also not predictable, which is why "The Lookout" is the most memorable film I have seen so far this month. The moment where I decided that I really liked this movie comes during the robbery, where Frank avoids the commonplace of the local cop who does not know how to do his job. I am so sick and tired of movies and television shows where the plot is advanced only by the blatant stupidity of a character. Things get pretty bad in "The Lookout," but the cop in question helps more than he hurts. More importantly, when Chris remembers what his limitations are, he knows how to use them. Frank also gets credit for assembling this cast on the strength of the script he had written. I checked out this film because it had Jeff Daniels in it, but Gordon-Levitt provides the performance you remember from this one. Again, this is not a great film (except for the opening scene Frank's strength here is clearly as a writer rather than as a director), but the fact it is pretty good makes it stand out and actually got me to recommend it to others more directly than by posting a review.
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars unearth this gem,
Also given that they shot this movie in Manitoba, why not set it in the upper Midwest like Minnesota or Wisconsin where hockey has a toehold?
Throw in the fact as the lead character listens to a game on the radio and it's the Detroit Red Wings vs. the Columbus Blue Jackets. I doubt he has XM Radio there as a graveyard shift janitor nor are either team's games beamed via radio into Missouri or Kansas so what gives with that choice of game?
That being said, it's a small complaint as the story is fantastic, the first-time director (Scott Frank) who also wrote the brilliant script is a talent to follow but Joseph Gordon-Levitt in the lead role shows that the kid from "Third Rock From The Sun" is an amazingly nuanced actor able to play such a role of a brain damaged (moderately albeit) former golden boy.
Kudos also to the DP for the lighting in this movie that gave you a sense of a land and time that the rest of America has forgotten as well as the note-perfect background music by James Newton Howard that evokes the tone of each scene so well.
This may be a thriller but it's not your typical "in-your-face" one that Hollywood churns out.
Definitely do not overlook The Lookout.
(The extras are also quite good with a look into the mind of this lead character and how Gordon-Levitt researched and developed this signature role as well as a making of that gives you exactly what you want to know about how this project came about and was put together.)
4.0 out of 5 stars "And I thought I was good lookin'!",
Gordon-Levitt is such an interesting young actor. He makes small indy movies (like "Brick" and "Mysterious Skin") that are invariably well-made and memorable character studies. He has the maturity and charisma to pull off a sensitive performance, displaying a wide range of emotions with just the pained expression in his eyes. Jeff Daniels gives an understated performance as the sadder-but-wiser friend, and Matthew Goode is convincing as the lowlife creep who leads Chris astray.
Writer-director Scott Frank has created a bleak, moody film reminiscent of "Fargo," with frozen snowscapes and gritty characters, although the soft-ball ending disappointed me. Recommended for those looking for something different, a quiet movie about dealing with adversity and making foolish choices.
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The Lookout by DVD (DVD - 2007)
CDN$ 13.99 CDN$ 11.99