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The Lookout

Published March 30, 2007 in Movie Reviews
By Fred Topel | Images property of Miramax.
The Lookout Poster The Lookout
How wrong is it when you're watching a crime movie and taking notes for smooth moves that would totally kill with the ladies? Besides the fact that it's all scripted and the women have to react that way, THEY'RE CRIMINALS!

Movie Review: The Lookout

Even the tragic incident that incites the whole film it noteworthy. Chris Pratt (Joseph-Gordon Levitt) drives his girlfriend through a field of fireflies. That's a smooth move, but yeah, turn on your lights. Sure enough, Chris has an accident and four years later deals with the remnants of a head injury.

The Lookout is very Memento with labels all over the house and lists to remember things, but it's still cool to see how someone lives with a disorder, and how institutions help with exercises. The world of head injuries proves fascinating for cinematic drama with the outbursts and the unintentionally insensitive "sympathies" of friends and family.

You've got to acknowledge Memento though. Any movie character with memory issues owes a debt to that film. Perhaps this is more accurate about a real condition and its symptoms but it's still a mystery about unreliable memories, only here the protagonist uses them for good and not evil.

At this point in the review, as in the film, you may be thinking, "This doesn't sound overly heist-y." It's really not. If you didn't know what this movie was about from the trailer, you could think it's just a drama about going from debilitating injury back to a real life. This is more exciting though.

The only job Chris can hold now is as a janitor at a bank. That makes him a target for Gary (Matthew Goode) who uses Luvlee (Isla Fisher) to seduce him into their gang. Enough people treat Chris condescendingly that he actually considers their proposition: let us into the bank and be our lookout.

Chris starts varying his usual routines in ways that seem inconspicuous to others but we know he's setting up the heist. Then he uses his other routines to turn the tables on the bad guy. If you know these movies, you see it coming but it's a tremendously satisfying payoff because it's all set up fairly. Nothing cheats out of nowhere.

Gary is a smooth criminal. He makes sense like Tyler Durden when he rationalizes Chris helping them with a bank heist. His pickup lines may only work in movies, but you've still got to respect them. You know he's going to lose it eventually, but it's easy to see how a guy could fall in with him. Bone just sits there with his long hair and sunglasses looking evil.

Isla Fisher makes a lovely femme fatale. They never let her get too evil though. In an attempt to make her sympathetic, or at best morally ambiguous, they limit her to the dream girl performance. But man, what a dream girl. You fall for it even though you know she's setting him up.

Jeff Daniels plays his best sidekick since Dumb and Dumber. As Chris's blind roommate, he's the wise elder but still a witty comic relief. Being so smarmy despite his disadvantages just makes him even more badass.

Joseph Gordon Levitt gets to bring his character acting chops to a more pulp-y story than usual. He portrays all the frustration of Chris's condition and a bit of the realistic self-pity. It's the quintessential heist hero, all dreams and no means, only he's not just some loser. He has an actual inhibitive condition.

The Lookout has all the right elements: cool characters, a good hook and a big payoff for the slow build. Actually, the slow build is the most fun part. You kind of know who's going to get it when it hits the fan. The real fun part, however, is seeing how a guy like Chris could get involved.

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Compiled By (Sources)
Fred Topel
Sources: Images property of Miramax.

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