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Reviews for The Lookout ( 2007 )

Interesting characters, well acted but forgettable. (IMDB: 6)

On: 12/30/2012 12:00:00 AM By: Rameshwar IN
Too laid out to be mysterious, not gripping enough for a thriller, not compelling for a drama but not bad to be ignored. Depends too much on the atmosphere it has set and the characters tend to be tad too predictable but keep on trying to act mysterious. Though beautifully acted, well developed characters and the screenplay for what its worth holds together, I didn't really seem to care what happens in the end.

Chris Pratt (Joseph Gordon-Levitt) drives 3 of his friends to an accident on their prom night ending his short but a successful stint in hockey. He suffers from memory loss after the accident and cannot even remember his day-to-day activities. The story is set 4 years after the accident and now he is attending life skills classes that helps people similar to him, labels and maintains a notepad to remember his daily activities, living with a blind partner Lewis (Jeff Daniels) and works as a janitor in a bank at night. While frustrated with his hopeless life and controlling family, his life starts to look ahead when a stranger Gary (Matthew Goode) gives him an offer to rob the bank he works in (but first seduces him with Luvlee (Isla Fisher)).

The protagonist's condition is not well thought out and is used wherever convenient, some characters are just cut out from the movie abruptly like the co-survivor of the accident Janet (Carla Gugino) or Isla Fisher during the later part of the movie. The way the climax is set up, there is nothing that leaves you to guess - only surprise is that you keep thinking 'thats not gonna happen, it would be too predictable'. Acting and some character development is top notch and the runtime has nothing to complain about. If an attempt is to be very realistic (which is to most extent), it should also be tightly scripted. Otherwise it is just plain awkward.

Interesting characters, well acted but forgettable.

(IMDB: 3/5)

On: 5/13/2009 12:00:00 AM By: Roger Moore
Frank has cooked up an interesting moral dilemma for a character ill-equipped to deal with one. Chris has made one big mistake. Is he up for another?

The lookout...for a good story. (IMDB: 6)

On: 4/19/2009 12:00:00 AM By: A V
As much as I wanted to like this film, once I watched it, I was quite disappointed. The premise of how a teenager suffering from brain trauma inflicted because of his own unaware rashness tries to redeem himself makes for a quite an interesting premise for a story. In this film, Chris Pratt (Joseph Gordon-Levitt) and three others collide head-on into a truck leaving his friends dead, girlfriend injured and him brain-damaged. So then follows the aftermath of this life altering accident. The film begins when Chris is shown to be living in an apartment with a much older blind man, Lewis (Jeff Daniels) and attending special classes that aid him to get his sensory and motor skills back to normal. He also works as a janitor at a local cooperative bank at night. Unable to perform daily tasks normally or think through clearly, Chris manages to stay sane and hope for the better. Until Gary arrives on the scene. Low on self -confidence with handicapped social skills, Chris immediately takes to Gary and his friends because they seem to accept him with ease. It doesn't take much to realize the true intentions of Gary. We just wait for it to unfold. It does but in quite a predictable manner. Chris works at a bank that Gary and company would be robbing obviously with his help. What is Chris' role and how he help them forms the remainder of the plot. No questions are too hard to answer and we very well know what will eventually happen. What irked me was the questions that kept popping in my head. How come there isn't any security guard at the bank. There seems to just one police officer on patrol who drops in to check on Chris. How come the bank is all glass-doored with the safe staring right out into the open? What about Chris' very wealthy family? Why isn't he with them? Why the hostility shown by the parents and Chris? The plot wouldn't have been the same then if these were answered. These holes kept rankling in my head through Gary's plan and Chris' actions leading to the climax that was just waiting to be run through before the finale. I knew it beforehand. The End. Gordon-Levitt is an actor who can externalize his angst and pain of the past very poignantly. I've watched few other films of his (Brick, Mysterious Skin apart from 3rd rock....) and he is indeed very talented. Supporting cast do fill up the blanks but yet are not sufficient to overcome the gaping holes in the story. That, was a letdown for me.

Whoever Has the Money Has the Power (IMDB: 8)

On: 5/4/2008 12:00:00 AM By: Claudio Carvalho
In 2003, in Kansas, the popular and reckless high school hockey player Chris Pratt (Joseph Gordon-Levitt) goes to a party with his girlfriend and two friends on the backseat of his convertible through the old Route 24. In a moment, he turns the headlights off to admire the bright sky and has a tragic car crash. Four years later, his head injury still affects his memories and he uses a notebook to help him to recall his activities. He is no longer admired and works as night janitor in the Noel State Bank & Trust due to his mental incapacitation. He lives with his only friend, the blind Lewis (Jeff Daniels) that he met while recovering in a medical center, and helps him in the daily activities. When he meets Gary Spargo (Matthew Goode) in a bar, he is introduced to the sexy Luvlee (Isla Fisher) and has sex with her after a long period of abstinence. Chris gets closer to Gary, and sooner he is invited to help his gang to rob the Noel Bank. Chris is upset with his lifestyle and sees the chance to change his life, convinced that whoever has the money has the power.

"The Lookout" is an excellent dramatic thriller, in spite of the common theme "bank heist. The screenplay builds perfectly the lead character Christopher Pratt from a successful and promising teenager to a frustrated mentally incapacitated and with remorse and guilty complex young man, with a total lack of professional perspectives and no-longer successful with women. The result is quite predictable, but the way the plot is disclose is amazing. The resemblance of the talented actor Joseph Gordon-Levitt with the recently deceased Heath Ledger is impressive. My vote is eight.

Title (Brazil): Not Available

A Bleak Winter,,,,,Fargo-Lite (IMDB: 7)

On: 2/27/2008 12:00:00 AM By: Gary
This is one of those slightly odd-ball heist movies which manages to carry off the down beat vibe and still be more-or-less convincing. Think of it as a Fargo-lite. Gordon-Lovett, following on from his excellent turn in "Brick",plays a College Ice Hockey star player, whose reckless "gift" to his girlfriend ends with her maimed and two other friends dead. Four years on, he is partially brain-damaged, confused and a self-loathing young man, going to "special needs" class to help deal with day-to-day tasks. No longer functioning as he was, he maintains a part-time janitor job at night in a small town bank. The nearest he gets to his dream ice hockey career now is using the mop as his stick and some urinal disinfectant blocks as pucks; shooting them into the waste bin. If he thought he had problems now; just wait until his new found "friend" reveals why everything in his life is starting to look up.... This has that mix of oddness that works for the most part, such as Gordon-Lovett's dependence on his a blind friend and flat-mate; played really well by Jeff Daniels. The main bad guy has value, although the femme fatale, played by Isla Fisher is probably too good to be true- and her character arc is left open-ended.

Roped and corralled into helping to rob his bank, he starts to sense all in not right-but its too late to back out now.............

All in all, I really enjoyed this until the top-and-tail ending. In a few narrated scenes at the end, the writer conspires to undo a lot of the hard work. The writers pen is dropped for a broad stroke "rainbow" paintbrush , resolving a lot of issues quite flippantly and totally ignores others. Perhaps the director should have got a re-write, but as he and the writer are one and the same, this was not to be!

Still, it was a good character driven piece of film-making overall and Gordon-Lovett is one to watch. He also bears a striking resemblance to Heath Ledger both in appearance, as well as ability.

Great performances and a solid directorial debut for Scott Frank (IMDB: 8)

On: 1/29/2008 12:00:00 AM By: Dave (freaky_dave)
The Lookout was an amazing movie with splendid performances all around. It's hard to believe that Joseph Gordon Levitt was once on "3rd Rock From The Sun". He's come along way.

After a horrible accident which killed two people, seriously wounded another, and left Chris Pratt (Levitt) with a brain injury which makes it nearly impossible for him to remember things without writing them down in a notebook that he carries with him, he is no longer the cocky hockey player. Instead he now lives his life while working as a janitor in a bank and living with a blind roommate named Lewis (Jeff Daniels in a fascinating performance).

While drinking at a bar, he meets the charismatic Gary Spargo (played by Matthew Goode) who then introduces Chris to the lovely Luvlee Lemons (Isla Fischer.) They later asked him to serve as lookout while they rob the bank he works at. Chris at first doesn't agree, but Gary plays the other people in Chris' life against him in subtle ways, and after Chris finds out that some of what Gary said seems true, he agrees. The story goes on from there, but I will not even discuss the ending.

The lookout is a strong movie, and it is the phenomenal acting which holds the movie together the best. Scott Frank has a way of getting the best out of his actors here, and what we get is a psychological drama that holds your interest. At a brisk 99 minutes, it seemed over much too quickly. Some of the later scenes in the movie felt a little contrived I agree, but even they pale in comparison to the welcoming acting where even the main villain (Goode) doesn't seem totally utterly evil. Of course I can't say the same thing about his quiet henchman with the glasses.

I liked this movie a lot, but I do wish we could've gotten to know more about Luvlee Lemons. Her character seem to be pushed out later in the movie, and I found myself a little disappointed in this. Still, overall this was a very good movie.

(IMDB: 3/6)

On: 11/1/2007 12:00:00 AM By: Amy Simmons
Forgettable fun.

perfect follow up to Brick (IMDB: 9)

On: 8/21/2007 12:00:00 AM By: ctg0724
Joseph Gordan-Levitt is currently my favorite young actor. He is much more respectable than these other youth celebrities. But more importantly, he gets himself into much better movies.

The Lookout is storytelling at its best. Though a touch predictable, you don't know exactly how things are going to turn out the way you know they are going to. Its Memento meets Brick; a young guy who has screwed up memory after an accident in which he was changed forever and now is trying to get his life back.

All other actors delivered. No one tried to hog up the camera. It was gritty without being too blood-thirsty, dark but not lacking those special moments and intense but not making you feel like you are on a never ending roller coaster. One minute into the film, it didn't waste any time. 9/10 for me.

Not as exciting as I was expecting,,, (IMDB: 5)

On: 4/20/2007 12:00:00 AM By: Terminator97C
Take your typical film-noir plot, mix that with the idea from "Memento", and sprinkle on a little bit of "Fargo" for taste. Put it in the oven for a few minutes and you have "The Lookout."

This sounds like a great idea for a new movie, but this recipe has no flavor. The movie is just stale. It tries to combine all of these cool elements from other films, but just cannot get them mix together in the right amounts.

"The Lookout" tells the story of super famous high school hockey player Chris Pratt (Joseph Gordon-Levitt), who gets into a vicious car accident. This wreck leaves Pratt with a short term memory disability and a significant amount of guilt. Some of his friends were also involved in the crash.

Pratt now does not fit in anywhere in snowy Kansas City. His head injury makes him socially awkward, he is unable to remember easy things like names, and blurts out inappropriate comments.

Pratt's only friend is his roommate Lewis (Jeff Daniels), who is blind. The sad part is Lewis appears to have an easier time living than Pratt.

The only job Pratt is able to perform is a night janitor at a local bank. Pratt, by what seems like chance finally makes new friends. However, these friends are planning a bank robbery at the same bank Pratt works at, and they need someone to be the lookout.

But, like Pratt is told by his new friend, whoever has the money has the power.

The reason "The Lookout" is stale, is because it takes way to long to develop the story. Getting to the climax is just unexciting. It gets a little boring.

When we finally do get to the heist, the movie takes off in full force. The scenes are gripping with a raw intensity, but this is only during the last part of the movie. If only the rest of the movie was made with this much passion and dedication. The parts leading up to the heist just seems like dramatic filler.

"The Lookout" is directed by first timer Scott Frank. He does show many moments of promise. If he focuses on a strictly action film, I think he will be quite successful because the action in this film looks like it has come from an experienced filmmaker.

Gordon-Levitt does another fine job of playing the protagonist in a film-noir movie, the other film being "Brick." His face throughout the film harshly displays the anguish and frustration he constantly experiences with his mental disability.

Frank really tries hard to make this film work, but he needs to complete his storytelling first. He drops some characters and sub-plots before we really know what their purpose was in the first place. It seems that Frank attempted to bring elements from all of his favorite films into his own. Good idea, but it just becomes jumbled and unfinished.

Frank might have the money, but he doesn't yet have the power to create a great film.

Taut character study (IMDB: 9)

On: 4/3/2007 12:00:00 AM By: dfales
I was puzzled by the range of views about this film before actually viewing it. I correctly guessed that my interests were more closely aligned with those reviewers that rated it highly (thankfully.) Without having seen the trailer and not expecting a thriller, I was able to accept it for what I think it was intended to be...a character study of a damaged character. There were moments when I hoped the pacing would pick up, but for a directorial debut, it was awesome. The acting throughout was excellent. This deserves awards but that process has become too political to predict. If dazzling cgi and spectacular effects are not your measures of merit, you are going to enjoy this one.

Utterly predictable, unimpressive performances (IMDB: 5)

On: 4/2/2007 12:00:00 AM By: louisrom
I am shocked at the rave reviews this movie received from people I respect very much. I went in with fairly high expectations and was just bored to death. I found all of the characters unconvincing, though Daniels to a lesser extent.

If the director's goal was to make Joseph Gordon-Levitt's character expressionless, he succeeded. Somehow, I don't think that was his goal. His character, Chris Pratt, communicated little inner conflict, guilt, remorse, anger.

Frankly, I think this movie was just a case of bad directing or worse casting -- Pratt was a drone, Gary, the uber-evil bankrobber, was rote, predictable and unconvincing, even Pratt's parents were virtually blank.

For me, no one in this movie effectively communicated the emotions one would think they should be feeling from scene to scene.

The script was fairly solid and as I watched the film I kept telling myself who could have bailed out this poor directorial performance.

I thought of the following ...

DiCaprio as Chris Pratt (of course, they probably could not afford him) Liam Neasom in a cameo as Pratt's father Michael Imperiale (Sopranos) as Gary.

The list of better choices goes on and on ...

The film made me care little about Pratt, it did nothing to suggest a real connection was made between Pratt and his bank-robber girlfriend (hence, no conflict), there were no breakout scenes of discovery when the protagonist finds what people are up to ...

It plain sucked.

I would like to argue the merits of the film in a professional sense ... but, for me, this was a B-rate film. It is perhaps the only film I've seen in years that made me wonder what the b-roll looked like because -- to use a word from the film -- there was no "sequencing," no logical connect-the-dots a=b, which makes c, which causes d, and explains e...

Non-Formulaic Mixture of Heist Film and Character Drama (IMDB: 7)

On: 4/1/2007 12:00:00 AM By: jzappa
What was interesting about going to see The Lookout, for me, was the uncertainty with Scott Frank, the screenwriter who makes his directorial debut here. It would be one thing if he were a screenwriter whose work I've seen was all original. If his previous screenplays had been great original works, I'd be absolutely sure that he'd be a great director, but because the only films he's written that I've seen have been adaptations of Elmore Leonard novels and a Philip K. Dick story, it was not only the first time I'd see his direction by also the first time I'd experience his own story.

I found that the script was great. I enjoy heist films possibly more than any other genre, and even though the heist itself is not so intricate and clever the way I prefer them the premise that sets up the gimmick used in the heist is quite clever. Really though, the film is not about the heist at all. It's about a very young person whose life is now completely different because of a car wreck that was all his fault. He has short term memory loss and deals with its shortcomings accompanied by horrible feelings of guilt for the deaths of his two friends and the maiming of his girlfriend. The movie at times seems a little uneven, because the makings of a thriller are intercut estrangedly with the makings of a slice-of-life drama. But both sides of the story work and it's generally fulfilling despite not being so tightly done. The movie is, upon reflection, reminiscent of realist films from the 1970s in its story and directorial style.

The cinematography and editing are adequate, yet strangely, in many scenes, particularly those that take place at the main character's family's home and those that takes place at the bank, have great atmosphere, a coziness.

What I admire about the movie is that it avoids clichés that seem on the very brink of being outrageous displays of them. For instance, there is the friendly airhead patrol cop that stops off at the bank every night to check up on things, bringing doughnuts and all, and we feel as if we know what will happen with him, and even now, one can't truly say it was or wasn't expected. The almost unbearably riveting climax, for instance, is for heist movie fans, a near-cliché, but wraps up with a fresh and new take on what we would expect. The characters are all inventive actually, and quite realistic.

Joseph Gordon-Levitt, a very young face without a name, will perhaps have a name now due to his deep, impressive performance in the title role. Jeff Daniels, however, has reached the point in his career where he steals every scene he is in, a la Michael Caine or Al Pacino, playing the sagacious and outgoing friend. Matthew Goode, playing the lead villain, is also a major plus for the cast. Leave it to an English actor to portray the villain with such a whispering convincing disposition that even we almost like him at first even though we are in on his scheme from the beginning. Greg Dunham, who plays another would-be cliché, the stoic sunglassed killer of only about five words in his vocabulary, avoids clichehood by somehow drawing such intense hatred from the audience that we are spared nothing by his cold and ruthless behavior.

Deceptively captivating. (IMDB: 8)

On: 4/1/2007 12:00:00 AM By: Deckard-16
When you look at Scott Frank's writing credits --especially "Minority Report" and "Out Of Sight"-- it is really no surprise that this is an unusually smart and entertaining crime drama.

It is an "adult movie" in the best sense of that term.

This is a beautifully bleak looking movie where all the color is in the characters and their behavior. The acting is top notch. I've never seen this Levitt kid before, but he captures emotional and intellectual numbness with a finesse I haven't seen since Guy Pierce's work in "Memento". It is a tough role and he hits it out of the park. Jeff Daniels is Oscar-worthy as his best friend and Matthew Goode plays a guy who you know sheds more than one skin each year. Isla Fisher is a welcome ray of sunlight in this dark tale.

It is the anti-"300" (which I liked a lot). This movie really sneaks up on you, it doesn't bludgeon you but before you know it you are totally spellbound by it.

I'll be looking forward to the next movie directed (and written) by Scott Frank.

(IMDB: 3/6)

On: 3/31/2007 12:00:00 AM By: David Fear
There's nothing here you haven't seen before, and even the pleasant hum of a well-tuned engine begins to drone a little.

(IMDB: B+)

On: 3/31/2007 12:00:00 AM By: Scott Tobias
The Lookout's thriller elements could stand to be more surprising, but they're ultimately in service of a better understanding of the characters. Usually, it's the other way around.

(IMDB: )

On: 3/30/2007 12:00:00 AM By: Joe Morgenstern
A straight-ahead drama, perfectly accessible though psychologically intricate, coupled shrewdly to a crime thriller.

The Lookout delivers. (IMDB: 9)

On: 3/30/2007 12:00:00 AM By: MorganGrodecki
I had a conversation with a friend earlier this week, regarding the lack of effort being put into films these days. In the 21st century, there are very few films worth seeing, in comparison to the earlier 80's, and 90's. Back then, there weren't 100's of movies being churned out a week, with only 1 or 2 being even half decent. This is the reason that this movie took me entirely by surprise.

The movie is centered around Chris Pratt ( Josepth Gordon-Levitt), a partially handicapped man, in his earlier 20's. Chris used to live a great life, have great friends, and amazing talent on the ice. Now, after a car accident that changed his life, he suffers from slight mental handicaps, although they are prominently random, and don't have a major effect on the movie. Chris is still recovering from his car crash, and trying to move up in his job. He works at "Noah's Central Bank" as a Janitor, but has been pushing to be a teller for ages. Desperate for companions, Chris jumps at the first person to befriend him, and slowly falls into the wrong crowd. As Chris gets deeper and deeper in with his group of friends, he's pressured to help them with a robbery. Only catch: The heist is taking place at his bank.

Although the movie seems pretty straightforward, the plot can be deceiving. First of all, if you are going to this movie expecting a movie based solely around a bank heist ( a la Inside Man), go to blockbusters and rent "Dog Day Afternoon". This movie focuses, for the most part, around Chris, and his decent from an innocent, hard working Janitor, to a confused, misled, and frustrated individual. Although not of the same Hollywood callibur as movies such as Inside Man, it is still easily worth the ticket. Which brings me to my next point.

After seeing this movie, I felt refreshed. I went into a movie, expecting explosions, poor dialogue, and close ups of bodies being blown away. I couldn't of been farther off. This movie veers away from Hollywood, and it pulls it off miraculously. The dialogue is crisp, the violence existing, but not overused, and the characters deep. I may only be so impressed by this movie because of what I was expecting, but I none the less recommend it to anyone willing to actually think during a movie, rather than watch a bunch of cars blow up.

Fargo without the humor (IMDB: 6)

On: 3/28/2007 12:00:00 AM By: swinms
I liked this movie but, without Jeff Daniels providing comic relief, it would have been insufferably serious. The young actors have lots of promise, though. Matthew Goode and Isla Fisher were creepily believable despite some obvious holes in the story (eg. what happened to Luvlee?). I think it would have worked better as a black comedy in the vein of "Fargo". The setting was certainly similar with that frosty white landscape speckled with blood, violence, and nasty language. Berg, as Cork, seemed to channel Willem Defoe. Where have I seen this character before? "Wild at Heart"? Ms. Fisher's sweet yet trashy and naive character stole the movie for me - complete with her Tinsley Mortimer hairdo. Overall, I've seen these characters and this story before. Still, it is interesting and worth an hour and 45 minutes of your time.

Go see The Lookout! You won't regret it! (IMDB: 10)

On: 3/15/2007 12:00:00 AM By: ranilovezyou
I had the opportunity and the pleasure to see The Lookout in an advanced screening in Seattle. This movie is FANTASTIC! It is well written, well acted, and well shot. There were many "on the edge of your seat" scenes. There were even a few moments where the entire audience gasped all at once. Everyone applauded at the end. It was just that good.

Not only is it thrilling, but it has a lot of heart, and a sense of humor. It was easy to connect with the characters because we saw them laugh, cry, and everything in between. Scott Frank, Matthew Goode, and Joseph Gordon-Levitt were on hand for a Q&A session after the screening. So much heart went into this, that I would hate for it not to do well. If it's playing in your area, I would highly recommend going, and taking all of your friends! I definitely want to see it again, and plan to buy it once it is out on DVD. Don't miss it!

I love this film! (IMDB: 10)

On: 12/2/2006 12:00:00 AM By: Jamaica27
The Lookout was screened unannounced for a group of students at UC Santa Barbara (where Scott Frank went to school) on 12/1/06, the first time it has been shown as a finished film. I think the reviewer who called the film predictable must have been watching another film (or it's been re-edited since he's seen it). The story was interesting and the acting was fantastic. Jeff Daniels was wonderful but Joseph Gordon-Levitt ... WOW! Isla Fisher and Mathew Goode were great too. But when I realized that this was Scott Frank's first directing gig was I blown away! The tension in the final third was authentic. This "little" film should win some big awards.