Take a look at “The Lookout”
Who knows what prompted highly regarded screenwriter Scott Frank (“Minority Report,” “Out of Sight,” “The Interpreter”) to get behind the camera and direct his first feature, but he shows promise in his debut “The Lookout.” Though it lags in the middle, between its swift introduction and its compelling conclusion, “The Lookout” is solid, if somewhat derivative filmmaking. A quiet thriller with some great performances.
Joseph Gordon-Levitt (TV’s “3rd Rock from the Sun”) is Chris, a brain-damaged, amnesia-prone guy working as a janitor in a local bank. The first few minutes of the film engagingly depict the tragic cause of his physical problems (a late night lights off joyride) and Levitt’s Heath Ledger/John Cussack hybrid qualities give us even more reason to care about his character.
Chris must keep notes on his daily tasks (hints of “Memento”), and while barely surviving the frigid environs of his rural Kansas hometown (hints of “Fargo”), he gets caught up in a bank heist scheme that goes awry (hints of “A Simple Plan”).
Jeff Daniels, as usual, brings grit and humor to his character as Chris’s blind roommate, and Matthew Goode (“Match Point”) delivers a spellbinding turn as the slacker mastermind who convincingly seduces Chris’ involvement.
While well-written (Frank also wrote the screenplay), and loaded with interesting details like Chris’s flashbacks to his pre-accident life, a bond with a girl who appears sincerely interested, and a tricky family relationship, “The Lookout” could have used an infusion of suspense along the way. The film takes its time getting to the imminent heist, and while nothing feels like filler, “The Lookout” isn’t exactly a nailbiter either. That’s more of a stylistic commentary than disgruntled criticism.
Several “F” words prevent it from a PG-13 rating and from likely reaching a bigger audience.
Rated R for profanity, some violence, and sexual content.