Friday, October 19, 2007

The Lookout (2007)

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The suspense-thriller genre involving mentally handicapped protagonists is beat. Memento and The Score, and dozens more have eliminated the "wow" factor of an actor playing an altered mind state in a pressing situation. The Lookout is no different, casting Joseph Gordon-Levitt, known from Third Rock from the Sun, as a young man trying to get his life back together after a deadly car accident. Struggling with simple daily life as a result of brain trauma, Chris Pratt tries to get his future on track both socially and professionally. The suspenseful twist comes courtesy of Gary Spargo, an older guy within the small town who hopes to rob the bank Chris works at. The catch is that Gary needs Chris to pull of the heist. Gordon-Levitt is impressive as a from-the-mold character and personifies the difficulty of having a malfunctioning mind. The supporting cast is just as impressive with notable portrayals by Matthew Goode as Spargo, Isla Fisher as Luvlee, and a handful of other characters that were clearly carefully selected. Jeff Daniels stands out as Pratt's blind friend, another cookie-cutter role. A heist involving a vulnerable, recovering mental patient and his blind sidekick plainly show the script is a little lacking in originality. Veteran screenwriter Scott Frank, who penned screenplays for Minority Report, Get Shorty, and Malice, steps into the director's chair for the first time and is somewhat successful. The Lookout keeps you on the edge of your chair for a few pivotal scenes and touches deep in others, but for the most part you know what is coming. Great acting can only take a lousy, rehashed script so far, but the skill shown in selecting an appropriate cast may earn Frank some attention toward his follow-up.

Good For: fans of heist films, Isla Fisher fans, people who like psychological thrillers, Jeff Daniels fans

Bad For: someone looking for something new, people who get frustrated easily

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