When The Lookout came across my desk for review, I honestly hadn’t heard of the movie before, so I hit up imdb.com to see what was what. To my surprise, it had accrued a rather high average score, so I had some maybe higher expectations that I normally would have. As it turns out, my expectations did exceed what the film turned out to be, but The Lookout is nonetheless an interesting movie.
The Film – Heist Flick With A Twist
The Lookout tells the tale of Chris Pratt, a young man who had a promising life ahead of him until he foolishly turned his car lights off on an open road and wrecked it into a parked farming machine, killing his two friends and severely injuring himself and his girlfriend. Honestly, this made me really dislike his character the rest of the movie, and by the end of it, I hated him because he gets another one of his friends killed by being an idiot. So the whole angle of being sympathetic for him because his short term memory is damaged and he has to leave himself notes all over the place to remember how to do things didn’t get to me. Sure, I would have felt sympathetic had he been a passenger in that car, but as the completely irresponsible driver, it was asking too much.
Anyway, working as a janitor in a small town bank, Pratt has certain privileges that nefarious folk, the likes of a no-good friend Greg, played by Matthew Goode, wants to exploit. Greg and his crew intend to rob the bank and he entices Chris with false hope and love to get him to do it. On the night of the heist, Chris plays his role (as lookout, naturally) until he has a change of heart. He nearly gets his only other two friends killed in the process, these being Ted the kind, father-to-be police officer played by Sergio Di Zio and Jeff Daniels character, Lewis. Lewis, on a side note, is the most enjoyable character in the film; he is a blind, funny, and very optimistic and supportive friend of Chris’s.
The Lookout takes a heist film and adds some interesting twists to it. Personally, I found it nearly impossible to feel sympathetic towards Chris Pratt, so this movie wasn’t very powerful for me. Additionally it ends a little unrealistically; things just work out a little too conveniently to be very believable. Still, I appreciate a good heist film, and while this doesn’t stand up to Heist, Goldfinger, or Kelly’s Heroes as far as big heist films go, it’s not a bad movie; at the same time it isn’t good enough that I would really care to see it again anytime soon.
Presentation – A Case of the Grainies
The Lookout has somewhat of a constant ‘grainy’ look to it. Anytime I see a film with this look, I think of two things: is it just me seeing this because of my eyes or equipment, or is this another Miami Vice on HD-DVD? I haven’t seen Miami Vice or The Lookout in theaters, but from what I have read on the Net, both do have this very apparent grainy look to them. I’m not sure if it is by director’s choice or not, but it doesn’t impress me. Give me the sharpness of Wild Hogs, for example, which I also reviewed today. I’ll take that over this grainy video any day. Still, the video quality of The Lookout on Blu-ray is far from bad; the colors and contrast and background details are indeed impressive.
The audio is about what you would expect; technical sound, no pun intended, but not much to work with except for the dialogue. It’s a fairly quiet film really, that is driven by its dialogue far more so than intense effects or a soundtrack. Fortunately the dialogue is not only well written, but well performed by the actors so it comes across well. Not a bad job here, but nothing really to write home about.
Extras – Keeping It Ordinary
The Lookout doesn’t pack a lot in terms of extras. You get right about thirty minutes in addition to an audio commentary track by the director and writer Scott Frank. “Sequencing the Lookout” is a twenty minute behind-the-scenes, making-of feature that has what you would expect, including cast interviews and the like. “Behind the Mind of Chris Pratt,” about ten minutes long, includes more cast and director interviews – really, how many people watch these things more than once, if that? Lastly there is an audio commentary by the director/writer, but I didn’t think anything very extraordinary came out of that, either.