The Lookout

While some crime dramas focus on the execution of the crime, others are more concerned with the human element and the people involved with the crime. Both elements blend together in The Lookout: how the people get brought into the situation is as significant as the situation itself.
Chris Pratt (Joseph Gordon-Levitt) is a popular high-school hockey star whose reckless driving kills two passengers in his car, injured a third, and leaves him physically and mentally damaged. Four years later, Chris has trouble holding things, trouble remembering things (he keeps a notebook with important things to do), and trouble sequencing -- remembering the order of things as simple as his daily routine. Chris cleans a bank (that won't let him try being a teller), lives with his blind friend Lewis (Jeff Daniels), and dealing with his family. Chris is frustrated that his life has changed so much and feels helpless and angry at his situation.

Chris meets Gary Spargo (Matthew Goode) at a bar, and they seem to hit it off immediately. Gary shares some of Chris' frustrations, listens to him, and even hooks him up with an atttractive lady named Luvlee (Ilsa Fisher). It isn't hard to see that Gary has an ulterior motive, and it soon comes out: Gary and his associates are planning to rob the bank Chris works at, and they want him to help. They need Chris to act as the lookout, warning them if Deputy Ted (Sergio Di Zio) stops by. Gary plays on Chris' feelings of helplessness, offering him a glimpse of a better life: "My old man used to say to me, probably the only thing we ever really agreed on, was that whoever has the money has the power. You might wanna jot that down in your book. It's something you're gonna need to remember."

The Lookout does a very good job of drawing us into Chris' world. From his daily recitations of what he does each day ("Once upon a time, I woke up. I took a shower. With soap.") to his frustration with family and friends, Chris is a very real and very sympathetic character thanks to Joseph Gordon-Levitt's powerful performance. The supporting cast also does an excellent job, from Gary's effective manipulation -- it seems he spent as much time casing out Chris as the bank -- to Lewis' combination of pragmatism and optimism that is so lacking in Chris. If you want to check out a very good crime drama, take a look at The Lookout.

Overall grade: B+

Reviewed by James Lynch

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