F.I.L.M. of the Week (September 18, 2009)

18 09 2009

The “F.I.L.M.” (gentle reminder: the acronym stands for “First-Class Independent Little-Known Movie”) of the Week is “The Lookout.”  Released in 2007, the movie flew under the radar of most moviegoers.  But with the movie’s star, Joseph Gordon-Levitt, now being hailed as the new Heath Ledger, perhaps there is no better time than the present to check out one of his hidden gems.  The movie is a spellbinding crime drama on the surface, but if you dig deeper, you will find that there is much more than meets the eye.  The film finds a quiet strength in Gordon-Levitt’s Chris, affected by short-term memory loss after a car crash that killed his friends, just trying to find a way to contribute to the world.  But his mental incapacitation makes it hard for him to do even the simplest of things, and he writes down his routine in a notebook.

Chris’ position as the night cleaner at a small-town bank attracts the attention of a gang of bank robbers who intend to exploit his shortcomings in order to get the money.  Led by the smooth Gary (Matthew Goode, “Watchmen”), the gang is able to coax Chris into helping, mainly through the strategic use of Luvlee (Isla Fisher, “Wedding Crashers”).  But Chris’ blind roommate, Lewis (Jeff Daniels), provides a foil for the gang.  He has street smarts and can see right through the gang.  And as time goes on, Chris begins to realize what Lewis can so clearly see.  The result is a wild and unpredictable third act, which excites and thrills.

I could speak volumes on Gordon-Levitt’s delicate performance, but I should let the movie speak for itself.  It is a refreshing take on the crime thriller, ranking up with “Inside Man” and possibly even close to “Reservoir Dogs.”  It is a very plot-driven movie, but “The Lookout” takes equally as much of its strength from the powerful performances of Gordon-Levitt and Daniels.  But now, it is time for me to stop writing and let the movie speak for itself.  Go give it a spin; you won’t be disappointed.

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