The Lookout DVD: Review By Evan "Mushy" Jacobs

The cast of this movie all give standout performances.
  • Feature
  • Extras
  • Replay Value
The cast of this movie all give standout performances.
Sadly, too much of this movie felt like a mix of other movies.
Chris Pratt (Joseph Gordon-Levitt) used to have everything. He was a crack hockey player who had the whole world in front of him. Then, after being in an auto accident, Pratt's life is forever altered and he cannot function without the aid of notes. Each of his days seem to be a carbon copy of the next as he makes his living as a janitor in a bank. He eventually makes the acquaintance of Gary (Matthew Goode) who is planning on robbing it. Deciding that Pratt could be an asset, he uses Luvlee (Isla Fisher) to further get into Pratt's head and he eventually agrees to go along with the crime. Events play out that make Chris realize he is a pawn in this game and it is here that he sets about stopping the crime. As nothing in a heist film can ever be this easy, The Lookout takes an even greater turn for all the players involved.

The best part about this movie is its cast. Gordon-Levitt, Fisher, Goode and Jeff Daniels (as Pratt's blind roommate Lewis) all offer up a great deal in their roles. They play off of one another really well, and seem to elevate the material that feels surprisingly familiar from writer/director Scott Frank.
Behind the Mind of Chris Pratt

Joseph Gordon-Levitt sits back and dissects this role. He talks about having 11 months to think about the character, what he liked about the role, and how playing Chris Pratt has been his hardest acting job to date. Gordon-Levitt talks about wanting his portrayal to look hard in the movie, so he would come to work very tired after working out in the gym in the hopes that this would show in his characterization. He then discusses Chris Pratt's mindset and his life and how nothing is ever routine for him. Since he constantly has to think about doing things this really informs who his character is.

Sequencing The Lookout

Commentary with writer/director Scott Frank and Director of Photography Alar Kivilo

You gotta love that Scott Frank begins this commentary by declaring that it's another episode of, "How the Rookie Director Screwed Up." While Frank and Alar Kivilo did this track together, they both seem to handle different aspects of what this movie offers. Frank talks about the characters, the budget and the locations while Kivilo discusses the logistics of shooting in these locations and working on a budget. This makes for an interesting commentary but people wanting anecdotes on the shoot and things of that nature be warned: THEY AIN'T HERE.
Widescreen (2.40:1) - Enhanced for 16x9 Televisions. Scott Frank seems to know what he wants as a director, it just seems like the story he's telling is much too telegraphed. The whole time I was watching this film, looking at where the camera was set, the point of view of the actors, and just how Frank wanted us to see this world, I could emphatically tell that the audience was being set up for something. The fact that this was so overt was never lost on me and I could never really watch the movie without looking for these telltale signs. All told, the actual look of this movie on DVD was awesome. It seemed like the print was really given the treatment as I noticed no signs of over-compression in the slightest.
Dolby Digital 5.1 Surround track. French Language track. French and Spanish subtitles. The audio sounded decent on this movie if not a tad hollow at times. Scott Frank has created a very sparse world. This movie feels small and contained and the audio plays heavily into this. There isn't a big soundtrack to take us into and out of the scenes with the characters. It feels like Frank wanted us to be constantly aware of what we were watching, and in many ways used the sparseness of the audio to take us further into the heads of our characters.
Joseph Gordon-Levitt, Jeff Daniels and Matthew Goode stand on this front cover with an appropriate dark, blue background behind them. Across them is a strip of images from the movie, and there are also some quotes from various reviewers. The back cover gives us some more images from this film, it offers up a description of what The Lookout is about, a Bonus Features/System specs listing and a cast list.
As I was watching this movie I couldn't help feeling like Scott Frank took everything that was special about The Spanish Prisoner and Memento and then mashed them together. This isn't to say that The Lookout was unoriginal, I just thought that for his writing and directing debut Frank could have put something together that might have made a tad more of an impression. I hate to say it but this movie seemed to go out of its way to have all of today's common indy film themes. The characters themselves weren't special but the people who played them was what stood out to me.

I think that Scott Frank is one of the best screenwriters working in Hollywood today. I think the films he writes have a weight and depth about them that many other movies do not. I guess, to me, The Lookout falls much shorter when held up against such Scott Frank screenplays as Out of Sight and Minority Report.

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