Character chemistry can come in many different forms and with the right actor can include several different cast members too – welcome to Forgotten Friday Flick! This week we’re jumping on the Joseph (as in Gordon-Levitt) bandwagon to check out a little-hidden gem fans might have missed. It’s a five-star flick that blends everything from drama to action, suspense to safe-cracking and uses an actor that has equal amounts of performance diversity to pull it off. Plus the leading man not only has heat with a sultry siren, but with a bad guy and blind ally to boot. Keep your eyes peeled if you’re…“The Lookout!”
Chris Pratt is a man haunted by his past. Back when he was a teenager his life was dramatically altered by a car crash that left him with major physical and emotional scars; his hands don’t function properly, he finds himself blurting out thoughts spontaneously that he would rather keep private and he carries a small notepad to jot down day to day duties due to memory loss. His parents still see him as a helpless child, but he takes solace in his blind roommate/mentor Lewis and working as a night janitor for a local bank. But when an old high school chum and his buddies (along with a sexy girl who may not be all she appears) enlist Chris to help them with a bank heist, he must decide the fate of his future while coming to terms with the past.
“The Lookout” is the directorial debut of Scott Frank, who penned “Get Shorty,” “Out Of Sight” and my personal favorite “Dead Again” and for a first flick it’s one hell of a start. The script, which houses everything from quirky characters to an old fashioned robbery, is super solid and the direction never seems like the work of a rookie. But it’s the mishmash of unlikely story tropes matched with the acting of the versatile Gordon-Levitt is the true match made in movie heaven here. Who would’ve thought that the youngest cast member on the nothing-beneath-the surface sitcom “3rd Rock From The Sun” would turn out to have such incredible depth? From his previously emotionally raw work in Gregg Araki’s “Mysterious Skin” to his clever turn as a high school gumshoe in the underrated “Brick,” Joseph Gordon-Levitt consistently brings a complexity to simple characters and his work in “The Lookout” is no exception. In his capable hands Chris Pratt is a flawed, raw and real guy – a perfect layered lead.
The secondary cast, from the always terrific Jeff Daniels as Chris’s sassy blind buddy Lewis to the very earthy Isla Fisher playing the sweet and seducing Luvlee Lemons and especially Matthew Goode as the cunning Gary Spargo are equally exceptional and all have very different but equally effective chemistry with Gordon-Levitt representing the comfort, love and danger in his life.
The movie borrows a lot of dramatic ideas from other films – the memory problem, the troubled past, the struggle with friends and family – but mixing it with a modern day heist is a unique angle and it’s one of the strengths of “The Lookout.” However, the film is Gordon-Levitt’s show all the way – yet another complex character in the career of an actor to always be on the lookout for.
Title: “The Lookout”
Genre: Drama / Thriller
Cast: Joseph Gordon-Levitt, Jeff Daniels, Isla Fisher
Director: Scott Frank
Runtime: 99 minutes
Release Company: Miramax Films