Had a nice three-day weekend, which was needed after last week’s school extravaganza. The wife and I caught some DVs, including Inside Man, which was an okay movie, and Memoirs of a Geisha, which was a surprisingly good one, even though it didn’t quite have the guts to avoid the cliche Hollywood ending.
We went and saw The Lookout at the theaters, which was time well spent. Loved. This Film. It was written and directed by Scott Frank, the screenwriter behind excellent films like Minority Report, Get Shorty, and Out of Sight. Frank specializes in caper flicks, and if nothing else I was hoping for an above-average crime drama with maybe some funny lines thrown in for my amusement.
Joseph Gordon-Levitt, fresh off last year’s amazing performance in Brick, plays Chris, a kid who had it all until he suffered a brain injury in a car accident and now works as a night janitor at a bank. He attends therapy classes, as he has problems with short-term memory, especially when it comes to putting events in the past in proper sequence. He struggles with accepting his lot in life until he meets an ex-classmate who wraps him up in a world of positive self-esteem and partying.
We easily slip into Chris’ world, and we feel his frustration when he can’t do things that regular people take for granted. He can’t have a regular conversation when he meets a pretty girl in a bar because he might blurt out something inappropriate; he wants desperately to leave his job as a janitor and work at the teller’s desk so he doesn’t have to feel ashamed of himself at family dinners. So when his old pal Gary comes into his life, he sees him as a portal to something normal. What Gary has in mind, of course, is far from normal.
Amazing film. It’s one of those low-key thrillers driven by a tight narrative and deeply absorbing plot, and at the end everything unfolds into a satisfying conclusion that never rings false or cheats the audience. Excellent performances throughout: Jeff Daniels turns in a sublime performance as Chris’s blind roommate who has suspicions about his new friend; and hottie-of-the-moment Isla Fisher stands out as an ex-classmate of Chris who shows him a good time or two. Especially surprising is Matthew Goode as Chris’ new friend Gary – keep an eye on this actor. He very nearly upstages everyone else.
Also of note: most of the film takes place in Kansas City even though it was filmed in Canada. Amazingly, the movie gets the Kansas/Missouri divide right, even though every other film always screws it up. For that alone, it deserves kudos.