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The Lookout (R)





Release Date: March 30th, 2007 by Miramax Films.
The Cast: Joseph Gordon-Levitt, Jeff Daniels, Isla Fisher, Matthew Goode, Carla Gugino.
Directed by Scott Frank.

BASIC PREMISE: After suffering a head injury in accident, Chris (Gordon-Levitt) becomes a janitor at Kansas City bank and his former classmate, Gary (Goode), involves him in a heist.

ENTERTAINMENT VALUE: Those expecting a typical heist movie will be pleasantly surprised by that so much drama and character development goes on before the heist takes place later in the second act. The underrated Joseph Gordon-Levitt gives a convincing performance as Chris, a young man still haunted by a car accident which killed some of his friends. Because of his memory problems, he has to write things down in a notepad occasionally. He lives with a Lewis, a sleazy blind man, played by the charismatic Jeff Daniels, who provides some well-needed comic relief. Chris meets up with his old friend, Gary, and agrees to help him out with a heist at the bank where he works at as a security, which is when the plot starts to gradually become riveting. Luvlee (Fisher), an ex-stripper, tries to seduce Chris and ends up falling for him. Once the heist doesnít go exactly as planned, The Lookout feels slightly formulaic with all of the usual twists and turns as to who gets all the money and how. Writer/director Scott Frank knows how to make all of the intricacies of the plot make sense and includes very well-written dialogue that doesnít feel stilted. The focused screenplay mixes offbeat humor and dark themes just like in the similarly brilliant, unforgettable noir film Fargo. The only thing thatís missing is the presence of William H. Macy and Frances McDormand.

SPIRITUAL VALUE: Itís somewhat moving how Chris gradually comes to terms with the car accident that he feels responsible for causing. By agreeing to help Gary, he submits to peer pressure, but he eventually tries to become more confident and somewhat of a better person despite the mistakes he made.

INSULT TO YOUR INTELLIGENCE: None.

NUMBER OF TIMES I CHECKED MY WATCH: 0

IN A NUTSHELL: A brilliant, riveting, unforgettable noir film. Itís this yearís Fargo.

RECOMMENDED WAY TO WATCH: Movie Theater.


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