(1998)5Lucia BozzolaA superior Elmore Leonard adaptation and critical favorite, Out of Sight (1998) reenergized Steven Soderbergh's directorial career and confirmed George Clooney's and Jennifer Lopez's movie-star quality. With Scott Frank's screenplay sticking closely to the eccentric source, Soderbergh infuses the unlikely connection between charmingly laid-back con Jack Foley and no-nonsense Fed Karen Sisco with a passionately cool romanticism; the intricate flashback structure renders their pairing a dreamy fait accompli even as Jack's line of "work" and comically shady associates accentuate its impossibility. The funky musical vibe and stylish cinematography, replete with velvety nights, bright Florida days, and astutely witty freeze-frames, neatly match the story's shifting moods. Along with the two stars, the gifted ensemble cast -- including Ving Rhames, Don Cheadle, Dennis Farina, Steve Zahn, Albert Brooks, and Catherine Keener -- is perfectly pitched to Leonard's wry humor; Lopez and Clooney's sultry onscreen chemistry is evident from the moment they meet in a car trunk. Though not a summer bonanza, Out of Sight still became Soderbergh's biggest success since sex, lies and videotape (1989) and won the National Society of Film Critics awards for Best Film, Director and Screenplay over future Oscar darlings Saving Private Ryan and Shakespeare in Love.