The Lookout (2007)

Genres - Crime  |   Sub-Genres - Crime Thriller, Psychological Thriller  |   Release Date - Mar 30, 2007 (USA)  |   Run Time - 99 min.  |   Countries - United States  |   MPAA Rating - R
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Review by Derek Armstrong

Like its thematic cousin, Memento, Scott Frank's The Lookout places memory loss in the context of a crime thriller, exploring how a damaged mind might construct (or fail to construct) the sequential reasoning needed to commit a crime -- or solve one. The two films are vastly different in structure, however. And while the ostentatious reverse narrative of Memento makes it more memorable, as it were, The Lookout earns big points for seeming like something that might actually happen. Joseph Gordon-Levitt is the key to that. He hits all the right notes as a twentysomething whose boundless promise was eradicated by a stunt he pulled while considering himself invincible: turning off the headlights when speeding down a country road. Chris Pratt's guilt and frustration -- the resulting wreck killed two people -- are omnipresent, but so are remnants of the confidence that used to define him. The mix makes for a fascinating character, whose recent introduction to modesty may actually make him a better person. But there's that little problem of the brain damage that makes him unable to process simple tasks, and the kitchen he wrecks in the wake of failing to open a can of soup is a powerful reminder of that. The directing debut of this accomplished screenwriter -- Frank also wrote Out of Sight, Minority Report, and Get Shorty -- is a writer's movie as much as it's an actor's. For a story in which event sequencing plays a key role, The Lookout has the exquisite sense of revealing its many lovely touches in just the right order. It's a tight, meaty, rewarding package. The Lookout also features strong supporting performances from Matthew Goode, who goes just under the top as the small-time hood trying to manipulate Chris, and Jeff Daniels as Chris' blind roommate, who exudes a devilish playfulness.