The Lookout (2007)
Starring: Joseph Gordon-Levitt, Jeff Daniels, Matthew Goode, Isla Fisher, Carla Gugino, Bruce McGill, Alberta Watson, Alex Borstein
Directed by: Scott Frank
With The Lookout, Scott Frank (whose writing credits include the screenplays for Out of Sight and Get Shorty) makes his directorial debut with familiar material. Like those other films, The Lookout is a genre exercise, a heist movie exhibiting many of the well worn clich�s of the genre. This time out it has the distinction of being a cross between Memento and Brick, with the result being a solid but unoriginal thriller, highlighted by some strong performances that allow it to be better than it probably should have been.
As a result of a car accident that he caused, Chris Pratt (Joseph Gordon-Levitt) has a mental disorder that effects his short-term memory and impulse control. He goes from privileged, high school star athlete lifestyle to working as an night janitor for a small farmer’s bank in Kansas City, living with his blind friend Lewis (Jeff Daniels) that he met in recovery. Frustrated by his meagre life, Chris becomes an easy mark for Gary Spargo (Matthew Goode) who befriends Pratt with the help of Luvlee (Isla Fisher) in order to convince Chris to assist Gary in robbing the bank.
So, yes, the short-term memory thing is very reminiscent of Memento, with Pratt having to write things down so he can remember them and a lot of scenes presented in reverse order, filling us in on the details Chris is forgetting. The bank robbery scheme is also fairly familiar from many other movies in the genre. Where this movie sets itself apart is in the early stages, which serves as an effective character study on Chris Pratt, with Gordon-Levitt making him an interesting and sympathetic character. Gordon-Levitt is truly one of the best young actors working today, and the best reason to check this movie out.
The rest of the cast fill out the movie ably, with Goode flashing some sinister charisma and Daniels in wry hippy mode. Together, they make this brisk genre affair well worth watching, even if its lack of originality make it a little less than memorable.