Customer Reviews: The Lookout [Blu-ray]
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on November 3, 2012
So this is a warning to anyone who likes this movie and has seen it before. There are two versions of this film on Blu-ray! The one originally released back in 2007 with the silver swoosh running down the cover and the words "Beyond High Definition" in the bottom right corner is the one to get. This new one released by Echo Bridge has manipulated the aspect ratio of the movie so that there are no black bars on top or bottom! Essentially they've zoomed in on the image so you lose part of the picture on the right and left side of the screen. Don't let the low price fool you! This is a corrupted version of the film, and if you have any respect for the filmmakers' intentions for the look of the movie you will not purchase this version! Or, if you're like me and find out once you watch it for the first time, I implore you to return it and send Echo Bridge a message that we will not support the altering of films! Of course, if you haven't seen the movie before you would never notice the difference and this may not bother any of you... Just a warning for those who care.
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"The Lookout" got overlooked when it was released earlier in the year. This unusual thriller directed and written by Scott Frank focuses as much on character as it does on the tense, moody atmosphere. Chris (Joseph Gordon-Levitt)had it all; he was a bright kid who also displayed talent in the hockey rink. Chris, his girlfriend and another couple are involved in a terrible car accident that leaves Chris brain damaged. He's unable to do anything more than simple tasks and can't even remember what change he should get back after buying a beer.


When Chris gets sucked into a plan to rip off the bank where he is a janitor by smooth talking slime ball Gary Spargo (Mathew Goode), he finds himself over his head and with nowhere to turn. Initially Chris believes this will provide him with the start up money for a business he wants to start with his blind roommate Lewis (Jeff Daniels)but things spiral out of control and suddenly he has nowhere to turn.


The film looks terrific with a crisp and detailed transfer to DVD. Audio sounds solid as well. The main extras we get here are a terrific commentary trackby writer/director Scott Frank discussing the making of the film and a 20 minute featurette that covers much of the same ground with cast and crew interviews. Scott discusses how the script had been shuffled from one studio to another as he watched in frustration eventually deciding he had better do it himself. Frank is rather blunt about his shortcomings as a director in the commentary track but honestly he did a terrific job on his first time in dual roles as writer & director.

We also get a 9 minute featurette with Joseph Gordon-Levitt and director Frank discussing the development of the character of Chris. Gordon-Levitt reveals that he did quite a bit of research prior to shooting the film on the mentality disabled.

You should be on "the lookout" for this fine film which got lost earlier amid some of the other films released at the same time. Although not perfect, "The Lookout" has strong performances and is well made by first time director Frank. I'm not surprised that the film got lost though as it isn't the type to lend itself to the hype machine of Hollywood as easily as, say, "Transformers" or other blockbuster films. "The Lookout" is well worth picking up not only for its well written script and deft direction from Frank but also from the terrific performances of everyone in the cast.
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Within the traditional crime drama genre, it has become increasingly difficult to find serious minded films that don't play as "hip and ironic." Add a young leading man to the equation, and it's twice as likely that you'll end up with a movie filled with artifice and self-awareness. In fact, reading the description of "The Lookout," I was sure that this picture would be just another film where clever one-liners were more important than generating actual suspense and drama. I couldn't have been more wrong! "The Lookout" is a tough and believable entry in the arena of heist films. Bolstered by a powerful lead performance by Joseph Gordon-Levitt, this film is both true to the conventions of crime genre and surprisingly different. The film succeeds with strong character development and provides an intriguing twist on the traditional protagonist.

Here, Gordon-Levitt plays a man coping with severe memory loss, control issues, and occasional motor skill inconsistencies. Sounds scary, huh? But don't worry, this is a real character dealing with real head trauma issues--not some cliche'd portrait or movie-of-the-week caricature. As a former "golden boy," Gordon-Levitt struggles to adjust to his disability. But he's also trying to cope with a monstrous grief--the car accident that impaired him (he was driving) also resulted in the death of two others. One day, he meets a mysterious stranger who claims to know him and seems to accept him in his present condition. Excited to belong, to be normal--he is drawn into a new world of friendship, women, and living life free and on the edge. But he soon questions the motives of his new friend as he is pulled into a plot to rob the bank in which he works. What follows is a hard edged story with real consequences--a riveting and suspenseful drama made even stronger by its attention to characterization.

Joseph Gordon-Levitt seems intent on becoming a serious thespian as opposed to just a big "star." With smart and unusual roles, he has certainly set himself apart from most actors in his age group. With "Mysterious Skin," "Brick," and now "The Lookout"--Gordon-Levitt has put himself on a short list of performers who can be counted on to make interesting choices. These diverse performances demonstrate a great versatility, a willingness to take chances, and (most importantly) the opportunity to really showcase what a great actor he has become. But "The Lookout" also benefits from a great supporting cast. Jeff Daniels gives an understated, humorous and quietly moving performance as Gordon-Levitt's blind best friend. And I found Isla Fisher ("Wedding Crashers") to be enchanting--complicit and innocent at the same time, what might have been a stereotypical role is refreshingly free of cliche.

I thoroughly enjoyed "The Lookout." One small note--the skeptic in me wondered how Gordon-Levitt was mentally (not to mention legally) able to handle a car due to his circumstances. In all honesty, it's unlikely that he would have been licensed based on what happened and on his current state of health. But it's a small point in an otherwise exemplary film. Smart, tough, and unexpected--"The Lookout" works as a caper, as a drama, and as a character study. A remarkably complex entry into what has become a fairly routine genre, this film packs an emotional punch and provides another great Gordon-Levitt performance! KGHarris, 03/07.
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on October 9, 2007
This movie is so ominous that I wanted to fast forward at points. It is chilling and moving at the same time.

Joseph Gordon-Levitt continues his string of astonishing performances which began with Mysterious Skin. He completely disappears into his role here as a young man damaged by a brain injury caused by his own reckless driving. I have a friend who is brain-injured and Joseph is so believable that it is heartbreaking.

All of the performances are nuanced and believable. Jeff Daniels is thrilling as Joseph's blind roommate.

The script of this movie is flawless. You can tell right away that a writer is directing his own work---there is no fluff, no throw away moments.

Every single moment and pause in The Lookout rings absolutely true. Every character is fully-realized. Every choice by a character makes sense, no matter how scary it is. Every plot twist seems earned---all the way through the very moving ending.

I cannot recommend The Lookout highly enough. It is a small masterpiece.
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on August 13, 2007
With his adaptation of Elmore Leonard's novel, Out of Sight, Scott Frank demonstrated a knack for crime thrillers with plenty of plot twists and double crosses. Now, he's finally gotten the chance to direct his own movie and the result is The Lookout, a neo-noir that evokes other crime movies like Charley Varrick and Fargo.

Joseph Gordon-Levitt continues his knack for offbeat roles. He does a great job portraying someone with neurological damage and the frustration that comes from not being able to do simple things like opening a can of food or remembering someone's name. He also conveys the guilt his character feels over the car accident that robbed him of a promising future. We see how he tries to hide his disorder and the frustration of not being able to do basic things. It's a performance grounded in realism that is in contrast to this stylized noir world. It doesn't hurt that he is surrounded by cold, detached characters, and this makes him very sympathetic as well.

Jeff Daniels steals pretty much every scene he's in as Chris' genial roommate. The actor displays a dry sense of humour that is very funny to see in action. He and Gordon-Levitt's character make for very unlikely roommates to say the least but the two actors make it work thanks to the excellent chemistry they have together. Along with The Squid in the Whale and Good Night, and Good Luck, Daniels is turning out to be quite an excellent character actor appearing in several well-made independent films.

Frank has a keen visual sense, adopting a predominantly dark colour scheme in keeping with the neo-noir tradition. He has crafted a clever little thriller with a fascinating protagonist at its centre. What could have easily been a forgettable film is anchored by yet another riveting performance by Gordon-Levitt.

"Behind the Mind of Christ Pratt" features an interview with the film's star, Joseph Gordon-Levitt. He was drawn to the complexity of the character and ended up living with the role for almost a year. He talks about how he portrayed Chris and speaks intelligently about his take on the material.

"Sequencing The Lookout" takes a look at various aspects of the movie: the script, casting, the look, and so on in an interesting way. Frank says that he was influenced by European thrillers that emphasized character. He talks about the origins of the story as well.

Finally, there is an audio commentary by writer/director Scott Frank and his director of photography Alar Kivilo. Frank isn't afraid to point out the mistakes he made as a first-time director. With Kivilo, their comments tend to be about filmmaking techniques like the cameras they used, the type of shots for a given scene and locations used. This could come across as kind of dull if you're not into the technical aspects of film.
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on August 10, 2007
Chris Pratt (a getting better with each role, Joseph Gordon- Levitt) was a golden boy: a high school Hockey star, an entitled child of wealthy parents. And then one night he decides, with 3 other friends, to seek out a shower of fire flies on an empty Kansan highway when tragedy strikes and he is rendered impaired both mentally and physically. His life is now more about "sequencing": ordering his life in such a way so as to recall what he needs to do on a daily basis in order to survive. Chris's golden sheen is tarnished, dented and made worse by the fact that, though his memory is spotty, he unfortunately can recall the high points of his young life: winning the hockey championship, cruising the highway in his convertible Mustang with his beautiful girlfriend, Kelly who survives the accident and appears every so often as a touchstone plunging Chris back to that fateful evening under a clear, Kansan night sky.
Chris works as a night janitor at a bank and it is this job that brings him in contact with some crooks (mainly an amazing, deadly Matthew Goode, heretofore known as eye candy in Mandy Moore Gary Spargo) who take advantage of Chris' impairments in order to rob the bank: "Whoever has the money, has the power," Gary intones and this mantra will echo throughout the film.
Director/Screenwriter ("Out of Sight") Scott Frank audaciously centers the "action" on the who's/the why's and the where fore's of Chris' search for his basic morality: he's not the man he was before, this much is clear, this much is unassailable. So who is Chris now and more to the point how will he allow the accident to dictate his future: will he let it swallow up all that is good and humane in him...or will he not?
"The Lookout" is an effective, nail-biting at times, little thriller filled with the minutiae of lives well observed particularly that of Gordon-Levitt's masterful Chris: behind a veil made from the opaque cloth of befuddlement and embarrassment, he manages to project vulnerability and the injured remains of an ego he can only periodically recall.
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on February 20, 2012
Don't buy this one, maybe this one cheap price
But Aspect Ratio only have 1.66:1, Studio: Echo Bridge.
Buy the original one Aspect Ratio: 2.40:1. Studio: Miramax.
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This story shows how quickly life can be turned upside down by a single bad decision. When Chris Pratt, a promising athlete, causes an accident that kills two friends and leaves him brain damaged, he doesn't realize his struggles have just begun. He's taken advantage of by a criminal who wants to rob the bank Chris works at as a janitor. When events spiral out of control, Chris must rely on his poor memory to help save the life of his best friend.

Chrissy K. McVay - Author
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VINE VOICEon January 29, 2008
I watched this film knowing nothing about it and found myself pretty involved in this story of guilt and remorse. As the story unfolds we are introduced to many characters that are interesting. Jeff Daniels has a small but important role in this refreshing crime/drama. I don't like to tell too much about a story in my reviews so, if you like crime/dramas and something a little different, this is worth checking out.I rate it 3 1/2 stars.
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VINE VOICEon October 6, 2007
This is one of the best movies of the past year and if it wasn't released so early in the year would be generating Oscar type buzz. I finished watching this for the second time tonight and was just as blown away by this film as when I saw it in the theater.

Who would have thought Joseph Gordon-Levitt from Third Rock from the Sun could give such a brilliant film performance. He plays Chris Pratt, a former star high school hockey player, suffering from short-term memory loss as a result of a tragic car accident. Not only did the accident kill his best friend and his best friend's girlfriend, but ended his promising career.

Jeff Daniel's is not a favorite of mine, but he gives an equally brilliant performance as Chris's blind housemate. All of the supporting roles are cast perfectly with Isla Fischer delivering a surpisingly strong performance.

This movie resonated with me in a similar way that Memento did (for obvious reasons). I saw them both right when they were released and came away thinking about them for weeks after I saw them. The last 30 minutes of this film are absolutely riveting with Gordon-Levitt turning in a performance that is definitely Oscar worthy (even though I am certain the Academy will overlook him). A pure and simple gem of a film.
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