The Lookout review by Tom Blain
Who doesnt enjoy a good heist? The only problem with the genre, or sub-genre is that its difficult to keep it fresh. After you have seen a few tricks from a Mamet flick, you might become an expert yourself. And seriously, who wants to compete with Mamet when it comes scamming the audience as well as the bank teller? Thankfully a movie like The Lookout came along to keep the genre going, while not trying to re-invent how to crack a safe. It may not bring more to the table with regards to intelligent ways to trick the audience, but it does bring solid character interaction, and an intriguing story.
Chris Pratt (Joseph Gordon-Levitt) was a high school star hockey player in the Midwest. He took a chance one night on long deserted highway in the middle of farmland Kansas that cost him the lives of his friends, his hockey career, and the proper use of his memory. Four years later he lives with a blind man named Lewis (Jeff Daniels) who probably helps him out more than he helps Lewis. The only job he can really hold down is cleaning up a bank in a small farming town after hours. Lewis main problem is remembering steps for simple procedures like making coffee or opening up a can of tomatoes. He uses a notepad to remember big things, and has to remind himself of things like Wake up, Take a shower using soap. In some respects he is a bit like Guy Pearces character from Memonto only without the complete amnesia.
Gary Spargo (Matt Goode, who I could see as one of those soon to be breakout actors) befriends Pratt one day in a bar, recognizing him from his high school glory days. While his manner is friendly, his intentions are to use Pratt as a tool to rob the small bank in which he works. Of course, convincing Pratt takes more than just a plan. Spargo uses his former dancer friend Luvlee Lemons (Ilsa Fisher, looking good) to get into Pratts heart and then uses Pratts mental situation against him claiming hell never get his old life back but at least he get a lot of cash.
The Lookout is a very well executed heist film, that doesnt concentrate solely on the robbery itself, but more about the characters surrounding it. The main focus of the movie is Chris Pratt and how he deals with the sins of his past and present. The film concentrates more on how he is able or not able to overcome each new challenge. Ill be honest when I saw that the kid from 3rd Rock was the main actor in this film I was slightly skeptical. 3rd Rock was one of those shows that sent me into convulsions, and he wasnt helping matter. But in this movie, he gives a very well rounded, meticulous performance that makes me believe he is much more than just a kid actor squeezing out the last drop. Some of Gordon-Levitts recent film decisions including The Lookout and Brick seem to be based more on making good, thoughtful films rather than just high priced Hollywood retreads.
Gordon-Levitt isnt the only strong actor in this film. As I mentioned, Goode plays a very shifty villain and does so convincingly. Ilsa Fisher (whom Ive only seen prior in Wedding Crashers) plays her role with an heir of mystery. Even at the end of the film you never really understand her true intentions, or how smart she really is for that matter. Maybe one of the best performances comes from Jeff Daniels who is the convincing blind friend of Chris Pratt.
The Lookout is a solid, under-the-radar heist film that will be enjoyed by both people who are looking for a good mystery-type film or those who want something semi-indy. The strong acting really brings out the well-scripted characters, and the movie is alive till the bitter end.
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