Saturday, October 2, 2010

Rewind--The Lookout

or: Memento with Joseph Gordon-Levitt

One word to sum it up: Twisty

Here I am, writing this review more than a week after I saw it, and catching up with a queue of blogging now I have faster internet that actually works properly. If this review is a little scratchy, it's because The Lookout isn't that fresh in my mind. But maybe this will give me a chance to randomly ramble about the amazingness of Joseph Gordon-Levitt??

An admired high school hockey player with a bright future, Chris (Joseph Gordon-Levitt) is a part of a car crash, which leaves him with a brain injury that prevents him from remembering many things for extended periods of time. To compensate, he keeps notes in a small notebook to aid him in remembering what he is to do. He also lives with a blind friend, Lewis (Jeff Daniels). Obviously, with the mental incapacitation, he is unable to have meaningful work, so he cleans a bank. It is there he comes under the scrutiny of a gang planning to rob the bank. The leader, Gary (Matthew Goode) befriends him and gets him involved with a young woman, Luvlee (Isla Fisher) who further reels him in. After they get close and after reeling him in with his own failures, the bank plan unfolds. Confused but wanting to escape his current existence, he initially goes along with the scheme. After realizing he is being used, he attempts to stop the robbery, which of course immediately goes wrong.

The Lookout sets out to be a clever heist movie, mixed with a psychological mind flip thriller, but ultimately comes across as an intricate modern day film noir. It draws plenty of valid comparisons to an earlier noir called Brick, which also starred Joseph Gordon-Levitt. This is because, like Brick, The Lookout has some amazing, yet very realistic characters. The Pin always haunts the back of my mind, as does Gary Spargo from this movie. The script never lets down on these characters, and seems to make sure that we know how well developed they are and that some of these people could be in our lives. At some points, these characters become a little too well-focussed on and we kind of lose the story, but Scott Frank's assured direction makes sure we never lose sight of the film.

Joseph Gordon-Levitt again proves that he has everything a leading man needs, even though this is a small independent thriller of sorts. Oozing with talent and a real emotional connection, he kinda reminded me of a Leonardo DiCaprio-in-training...I mean, you saw Inception, right? JGL totally owned in that movie, just as Leo does in most of his movies. If more movies could be clever modern film noir like this one, and all starring JGL, then we would have a very happy film industry, wouldn't we? Also, I can't go on without mentioning a fantastic Isla Fisher, who, in my mind, is a bubbly natural comedienne, but did extremely well in a dramatic role. More of these and Isla might be able to rustle up some awards for her efforts.

THE VERDICT: A fantastic independent film noir, which is made great thanks to it's realistic and colourful ensemble of characters. Joseph Gordon-Levitt stands out in a film similar to his previous work Brick.


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