The Lookout

Movies Reviews Joseph Gordon-Levitt
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The Lookout

Director: Scott Frank
Writer: Scott Frank
Cinematographer: Alar Kivilo
Starring: Joseph Gordon-Levitt, Jeff Daniels, Matthew Goode, Isla Fisher, Carla Gugino, Bruce McGill, Alberta Watson, Greg Dunham
Studio/Running Time: Miramax Films, 99 mins.

While writing some of the more inventive screenplays to come out of Hollywood in recent years (Dead Again, Get Shorty, Minority Report, Out of Sight, Little Man Tate), Scott Frank has avoided the director’s chair, instead, comfortably working with industry giants like Steven Spielberg, Sydney Pollack and Steven Soderbergh. However, it was after re-working The Lookout for two different directors that he decided he “was too comfortable” and that it was time for his directorial debut. It was a choice well made.

In The Lookout, Joseph Gordon-Levitt (Mysterious Skin, Brick) plays Chris Pratt, a victim of a brain injury sustained in a car crash caused by his own reckless actions – an incident played out beautifully via a night scene at the beginning of the film. Four years later, Chris looks fine and even drives a car. But he can’t remember everyday things like finding a can opener or making change. He’s frustrated with his low-paying job as a bank janitor and lonely for some female attention. So when Gary (Matthew Goode) befriends him and Gary’s friend, Luvlee (Isla Fisher), comes on to him, he willingly falls into the seduction even though it becomes obvious the pair is using him to rob the bank. By the time he realizes his mistake, all hell has broken loose and only he can make it right.

Ultimately, Frank fills The Lookout with just enough twists and turns to keep you guessing about its conclusion while Jeff Daniels steals scenes throughout as Chris’ blind and incorrigibly cheerful roommate. But in the end, it is Gordon-Levitt’s aching performance – perhaps the best of his career – that holds our attention in this edgy thriller.