The Lookout (2007)

Directed by Scott Frank

Starring Joseph Gordon-Levitt, Jeff Daniels

It’s not an Austrailian film, but I’ll get back to that theme tomorrow.  Had to post about this beautiful little film noir I just watched called The Lookout, Scott Frank’s directorial debut, graduating from accomplished script doctor.  Starring Joseph Gordon-Levitt, fresh off another little indie film noir called Brick, that though important, never really broke through. 

The story follows brain damaged Chris Pratt, injured by his own hand and reduced from hockey superstar to bank janitor.  Emotionally devastated and unconfident, he’s an easy target for a group of bank robbers who recruit him to be their lookout for the heist they’re planning at the bank he works at.  Things start to go wrong though when Chris recalls how his actions destroyed the lives of others before his injury and he has a change of heart about his involvement in the robbery.  The consequences are deadly.

There’s a couple scenes in here I would have shot differently, mainly the one where Pratt is called up to crawl into the vault, all shot in a wide, maybe would have worked better with some mids and close-ups to really hammer home the moment, amp up the tension.  Still, Frank showed technical prowess and great actorial direction, especially this being his first film.  Great writing as well, putting the script into the territory of an orginal Memento-ish crime drama.  The score is also subtle, yet spot-on, another great accomplishment to James Newton Howard, Shamalyan’s go to man.

As long as Gordon-Levitt keeps making these great little film noirs, I’ll keep seeing them.  Though I have to admit, he needs a few more years until he really hits his prime as an actor, but once he does, I think he has leading man potential.

Other Notable Films by this Director: Script-Doctoring– Dawn of the Dead (2004), Minority Report (2002), Out of Sight (1998 )

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