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Our First Sneak Review Of Scott Frank's THE LOOKOUT!!

Published at: Sept. 14, 2006, 5:59 a.m. CST

Hey, everyone. ”Moriarty” here.

I’m dying to see this one. Sounds like a lot of great stuff was test-screening around LA last night.

Hi

I went to see an advance screening of a movie called The Lookout, starring Joseph Gordon-Levitt. It was a work print, and the screening was in Pasadena.

I'm going to keep this as short as possible because I'm sure that no matter what I write, some group of talkback mouth breathers is going to call me a plant any way.

I liked the movie a lot. I didn't know much of what to expect before going in, other than what I read on IMDB. What it says on there is basically that it's a "Crim/Drama/Thriller" about a brain damaged guy that gets caught up in a scheme to rob a bank. From that description, I wasn't that psyched about seeing the movie, but since it was free and I had nothing to do, I went ahead and checked it out. I'm glad I did, because, although it wasn't something where I'm now dying in anticipation of it hitting theaters, it was definitely not a wasted evening.

Joseph Gordon-Levitt plays another down-on-his-luck guy that gets pushed to crime. This time, he is Chris Pratt, a guy in Kansas City that, four years previous, got into a bad car accident with some of his friends, and ended up very badly injured. Two of the other people in the car died, with the other girl being also badly injured. The movie shows the beginning with the accident, then skips right ahead to four years later, when Chris is suffering from brain damage - he has labels on everything in his apartment telling him what to do (example -- on the alarm clock: "turn off the alarm"; near the front door where the keys are kept: "lock door from outside"). He works as a night-time janitor at a small-town bank, where he's treated like someone with major brain damage is usually treated. He is not happy about being pitied and looked-down-upon, but it's obvious that he's still not really ready for being 100% "normal". He constantly locks his keys in his car (but always keeps a spare in his shoe), and doesn't have full use of his left hand. He's got brain damage, but he's not a slobbering handicap. He's still a pretty smart guy, he's just got some kind of weird issues at times.

The movie starts with a pretty depressing tone, but not it's not overdone. Part of this is thanks to JGL's (I'm going to refer to him as JGL now because the full name is tiring to type out every time) superb acting. For some reason, he's very believable in the down-on-his-luck type of roles.

He shares his apartment with a blind man that works at an online flower delivery place (I'm coming up blank on what these places are called, but it's like FTD.com or flowers.com -that type of thing) who is played, also superbly, by a hairy, bearded Jeff Daniels.

At a bar, where Chris goes to drink O'doul's (I don't really know why..), he is approached by Gary, played by Matthew Goode. Gary, along with two girls, one of whom being the stalker-scary girl that Vince Vaughn ends up with in Wedding Crashers, becomes fast friends with Chris. However, after hanging out with Gary for a period of time, it becomes clear to Chris that he's got plans to rob a bank (namely, the bank at which Chris is a janitor, and also at which he hopes to one day become a teller). Gary's got some criminal friends as well, including one awesome villain named Bone. This guy was an awesome movie villain. He always wore all black, sunglasses, and carried a shotgun. His presence reminded me of The Tall Man from the original Phantasm.

From there, events happen, and the story unfolds. You'll have to see the movie to know what happens. Anyway, it plays out well, and there are a few action sequences that really worked well. However, a lot of the movie is spent establishing Chris' disability and how he's progressing with it. For my money, they spent a little too much time on the depressing details of his difficulties, and it took away from some of the flow. It helps to give the character depth, though, and these scenes are basically where the bulk of the emotional weight lies. So although these scenes seem to drag, they are pretty important as far as the central theme of the movie. I think maybe they should just be shortened or something.

Towards the end it comes together nicely, though, and it gets pretty suspenseful. I noticed that there were a few musical cues that worked better than i've seen in a lot of movies lately (because i can't remember the last time i noticed a subtle change in music in a movie that made me want to pump my fist in the air like a retard), but two of my friends that i went with who both make electronic came out of the theater and their number one complaint seemed to be that the music was crap. The number two complaint seemed to be that the movie was basically a mish-mash of a bunch of other movies. For example, the guy had memory problems, which is similar to Memento. Also, the being-caught-in-a-crime-that-you're-really-not-all-that-into thing has been done a thousand times. It was a crime movie set in a small town in the winter, and somehow it felt like Fargo. The tone of the movie was fairly dark, with a little bit of humor in parts, but it didn't feel all that unique. I agree about the mish-mash thing. On the survey they passed out about the movie at the end, in the part where they ask if you've seen certain movies before, there was a list of like 14 movies, and each one of them contained elements that were present in this movie. So it definitely was sort of a collection of different ideas from different movies.

Overall, the movie plays out well though, and there are a few kickass moments where people cheered in the theater. I just don't think it's a movie that people will be talking about in five years. All the main actors performed very well, and the movie definitely is far from being crap. It's definitely got a certain integrity.. it's a pretty smart movie, and it's absolutely not mass-market-appeal garbage. As far as I'm concerned, I couldn't think of very much to criticize as far as what they should change before the release other than upping the pace a bit in the parts where they're showing Chris' everyday life.

My verdict: pretty good movie, i liked it.

LLEPHEN

Readers Talkback

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  • Sept. 14, 2006, 5:40 a.m. CST

    First

    by mostdwnloadedman

    didnt read a word of the article

  • Sept. 14, 2006, 5:41 a.m. CST

    Might as well try for a twofer.

    by Strangwood

    First? Hopefully. My entire life rests upon it.

  • Sept. 14, 2006, 5:45 a.m. CST

    WELL

    by THE KNIGHT

    Sounds interesting..

  • Sept. 14, 2006, 6:02 a.m. CST

    Levitt is on fire right now

    by IndustryKiller!

    I really want to see if he can keep this streak of good films and good performances alive. Nice to see a young actors who gives a rats ass about art.

  • Sept. 14, 2006, 9:07 a.m. CST

    PLANT

    by TheSeeker7

    Kidding! teehee... (he says as he breathes through his... NOSE *ahem*)

  • Sept. 14, 2006, 11:38 a.m. CST

    What the hell is that Harry animation supposed to be?

    by Osmosis Jones

    The Fly?

  • Sept. 14, 2006, 12:53 p.m. CST

    Actually, Osmosis Jones...

    by TheSeeker7

    I'd been wondering that myself. Usually I'm pretty good and figuring out what they're referencing in a reasonbly quick amount of time, but this animation's got me baffled.

  • Sept. 14, 2006, 7:53 p.m. CST

    Scott Fucking Frank.

    by thenewpulper

    Directing a fucking movie. I'm there.