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Chris Pratt was once a Golden Boy athletic hero in his small Midwestern town. Chris had it all — a beautiful girlfriend, a well-heeled family and a shining future. But after a serious accident, Chris has found himself in a strange new world where the most basic things seem to fall through holes in his memory and nothing quite makes sense. Unable to make it on his own, he lives with his mentor in navigating this surreal life — the wisecracking, fiercely independent blind man, Lewis. For a job, Chris sweeps the floor at the bank waiting for his halted life to come unstuck. Things suddenly shift when he meets Gary Spargo, an old school acquaintance and street philosopher who begins to revive Chris' shattered confidence, even helping him find a stripper — albeit a stripper named Luvlee Lemons. But Gary has bigger plans, and when he recruits Chris into his grand plan to rob the bank where he works, Chris appears to be in way over his damaged head. As the bank heist unravels into chaos, both Chris' uncertain future and even more importantly Lewis' survival are on the line. Now, it's up to this young outcast who can't always think straight to figure out how to outwit and take down his manipulators his own way.
For more about The Lookout and the The Lookout Blu-ray release, see the The Lookout Blu-ray Review published by Martin Liebman on December 17, 2007 where this Blu-ray release scored 4.0 out of 5.
Starring: Joseph Gordon-Levitt, Jeff Daniels, Matthew Goode, Isla Fisher, Carla Gugino, Bruce McGill
Director: Scott Frank
» See full cast & crew
The Lookout Blu-ray Review
A must-see film and a must-see Blu-ray
Reviewed by Martin Liebman, December 17, 2007
I just want to be who I was.
The Lookout is another in a long list of movies that fell flat with audiences, earning precious few dollars at the box office but scoring huge with critics. Deep, meaningful films like this are often overlooked by the public at large who pay top dollar to watch the likes of Transformers and Knocked Up instead. Nothing against those films, but I really wish audiences would start recognizing films that depend on plot, structure, and thought rather than CGI and relentless crude jokes for 90 minutes. This movie isn't just about a bank robbery. It's about a young man struggling to find his place in the world after a tragic mishap forced him out the prominent position he once held amongst his peers. He must make a choice that could make or break him once again, only this time using what he has learned since his accident to aid him in his choice. It's watching him struggle to decide as emotions rage inside of him that makes this film so memorable.
The Lookout is the story of Chris Pratt (Joseph Gordon-Levitt, 3rd Rock From the Sun), a young man who, as the story opens, is in a horrific automobile accident nearly killing him, leaving his girlfriend maimed, and two other friends dead. Four years later, Chris is continuing to struggle to once again find his place in the world. He was once a popular young man, a talented hockey player, and a person even his elders looked up to. His mind doesn't work quite right since the accident. He is still a functioning, good, and mostly independent person who can hold a job and take care of himself. He needs help, however, not only from notes plastered throughout his apartment reminding him to turn off the alarm and lock the door, but also with the help of a notebook and, most importantly, his blind roommate Lewis (Jeff Daniels, Gods and Generals) who always has good advice for Chris. The two depend on one another, Chris more so on Lewis. Despite being blind, Lewis prepares meals for Chris and leaves him instructions on the phone on how to do things around the apartment.
Chris works as a night janitor at a local bank. He has aspirations of doing more. He would like to be a teller. He has the teller handbook practically memorized and he tries to impress his boss, Mr. Tuttle (David Huband, Wrong Turn), with his knowledge of teller procedure. Mr. Tuttle shrugs off Chris' aspirations which accounts in part for Chris' resentment towards both the bank and the hand he has been dealt in life. One evening he meets Gary Spargo (Matthew Goode, Chasing Liberty), a man who claims to have dated his sister and becomes Chris' friend. Unfortunately, Gary's intentions are not pure. He needs Chris to be a part of a heist at the bank where Chris works. Once Chris has been sufficiently "let in" to the group, the plan is revealed to him. Chris accepts, partly begrudgingly and partly out of spite for his father who no longer accepts Chris as he once did. What will follow is the most crucial moment in Chris' life. Will he cooperate with Gary and his gang or will something happen to change his heart and this time allow him to make the right decision, saving lives rather than destroying them in the process?
Simply put, The Lookout is one of the finest films I have seen this year and perhaps the biggest surprise of 2007 (and of the last few years as well). It's another one I had never heard of until I saw it on a Blu-ray "coming soon" sheet. The film was touching throughout and intense in many places, even during sequences where even the first time viewer can predict with great accuracy what will happen next. Once again, this is another film that draws me in because I become attached to a character with a troubled past whose heart is struggling to be in the right place, even in the face of wrongs that the character cannot keep away from. Other such films include Sling Blade and Beowulf & Grendel. Chris represents physically what many of us are spiritually, fighting between good and evil, knowing the difference but struggling to find answers through the conflict. A cross that is always visible through a window into the apartment shared by Chris and Lewis represents a sanctuary of sorts where Chris, despite frustrations, knows he is always safe and welcome. Lewis can easily be seen as a Christ-like figure, even looking the part with a beard and long hair. He is blind to the physical world, but easily sees into the souls of all he encounters. When their haven is ultimately violated, Chris eschews the wrongs in his life completely with the single goal of returning things to the status quo (restoring good over evil) by any means necessary. This is a fine film that every viewer will likely find some character or event to connect with. On the surface The Lookout is a basic tale of the planning and execution of a bank robbery, but the dynamic character of Chris and his struggle to find meaning results in a compelling and thought provoking film that left me satisfied with solid entertainment and pondering the thought provoking messages of the film.
The Lookout Blu-ray, Video Quality
I found no major flaw with this 1080p, 2.40:1 transfer from Miramax. In fact, I'd call it "top-notch." The film seems rather harshly lit, making everything appear whiter than one would normally expect. It's a look that suits the film well. The film has a grainy look to it throughout that also adds a sense of dread and foreboding to the movie. Images are sharp, colors are bold, flesh tones accurate, and detail is high for the entire 99 minute runtime. This is a true and remarkably efficient high definition image that really shows off the power of Blu-ray.
The Lookout Blu-ray, Audio Quality
The Lookout features a PCM uncompressed audio track running at 6.9 Mbps that is sufficient if only because there is so little opportunity for a high definition track to strut its stuff throughout this film. Dialogue is a little bass heavy at times. In the few scenes that are not composed primarily of dialogue, directionality and flow are top-notch. Near the end of the film the track gains some momentum and we get some instances of tight rumbling bass and some nice use of surrounds. The movie is almost entirely dialogue, and it reproduces it well enough. Certainly not a track that will serve to impress your friends, but it suits the movie well, does the job asked of it admirably, and is an asset to the overall tone of the film.
The Lookout Blu-ray, Special Features and Extras
Unfortunately, Miramax has chosen not to include a lot of extras for this release. The main attraction is a commentary track with writer/director Scott Frank and director of photography Alar Kivilo. This track delves into the technical aspects of the film. As such, unless you are a student of film, you may find this track rather dull. Behind the Mind of Chris Pratt (480p, 9:26) is a pretty interesting piece that is a conversation primarily with actor Joseph Gordon-Levitt. He discusses preparing for the role and his insights into the meaning behind the film and Chris' motivations and thought processes. Finally, Sequencing 'The Lookout' (480p, 19:59) is a fairly standard making-of feature that briefly takes us from pre-production to wrapping things up as cast and crew discuss what they took away from the final product.
The Lookout Blu-ray, Overall Score and Recommendation
The Lookout features several memorable characters and an even more memorable story that not only entertains but leaves viewers with a sense of fulfillment and a desire to take a look at their own lives and analyze their own actions, wondering if today could be the day that things change forever. Chris is given a second chance at life and with that second chance come more choices to be made as he struggles to fight for what he knows to be right in his heart but that the world tells him is wrong. Chris' personal journey through learning to live once again results in an enthralling and intellectually stimulating viewing experience that I found very meaningful and moving. It's packaged as pretty standard stuff, but it's the material that is just under the surface that's so compelling. Technically, this is a top-notch Blu-ray disc with superior audio and video quality. Supplements are good but a little more would have been welcome, especially a second, less technical commentary track that delved more into the meaning of the film rather than the making of the film. The Lookout comes highly recommended.
The Lookout: Other Editions
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