Re-watching: The Lookout

“Who ever has the money has the power.”

The Lookout is from 2007 and written and directed by Scott Frank.  Frank hasn’t done a lot of directing, but he did do this movie and A Walk Among the Tombstones.  Two really good neo noir films isn’t a bad start for him in the directors chair.  Here is a link to my review of A Walk Among the Tombstones:

This film has a great cast with Joseph Gordon-Levitt as a brain-damaged young man who has some memory loss issues.  Jeff Daniels plays his roommate who is blind.  Matthew Goode plays our top bad guy and leader of a gang of bank robbers.  Isla Fisher is our femme fatale as part of Goode’s crew.

Our story starts with Gordon-Levitt driving his Mustang down a country road, full of his classmates.  He turns off the headlights, doing what young people do, and wrecks into a combine.  We flash forward 4 years to Gordon-Levitt working at a bank as the night janitor.  We get a sense of his frustration with his memory loss.  He has trouble remembering things and writes them down in a notebook.  We meet our bad guys in a bar where Gordon-Levitt is having a beer.  He soon hits it off with one of the girls in the gang.  This is of course Fisher, being our femme fatale.  We soon find out our gang wants to befriend Gordon-Levitt because then know of his disability and job, he will be an easy mark to help them get into the bank.  Will our hero help our robbers?  Will he stop the robbery before it happens?  With his diminished brain power, will he still be able to out smart the bad guys?

This movie came 2 years after Gordon-Levitt’s other great neo-noir film, Brick.  I think that is why when somebody talks about one of these films somebody will always bring up the other one.  Both are excellent films, but Brick was something special.  These would make for a great double feature next time you want to see a couple of neo-noir flicks in one night.  Here is my review of Brick:

This is a film any neo-noir buff will love and most film buffs in general will enjoy.  If you have already seen this and Brick, what one do you like better?

Favorite Tidbit:  David Fincher and Sam Mendes where both attached to direct this film.  When both fell through, Frank decided to direct it himself.

My Review of Brick

Noir goes to high school!  This movie takes a modern take on the classic film-noir formula, but how do you have the classic dialog of a 30’s movie and put it into a movie made in this century?  I don’t know either but Rian Johnson did it.  Deciphering the language is part of the fun of this film.  Pin, Bull, Tug and of course Brick, what do they mean, why does it sound so cool when these middle class teens talk?  The setting of this film is in today’s suburbia and not the heart of the big city.  The hero is an average teen ex-boyfriend that most seem to be afraid of, or at least respect his reputation, but he seems more of a nerd then a bad ass.  The bad guys are modern versions of a thug and a smart business man who just happens to be in an illegal business.  There are 3! Yes 3 femme fatales in this movie, and of course all three throw our hero off track in different degrees through out, even though he knows they are doing it.  Brick is ten years old already, but it still holds up.  It was great to revisit this movie a decade on and forgot all the talent that this movie has.  Of course I knew Joseph Gordon-Levitt  when I first watched this, but he has become a huge star since. Lukas Haas, Emilie de Ravin and Meagan Good  have all gone on to become stars in their own right.  We get to see Richard Roundtree(Shaft himself!) in a great little role as well.  The greatest launching pad for talent this film had may just be the writer and director himself.  Since Brick, Rian Johnson has gone on to make the Brothers Bloom and the fantastic Sci-Fi Noir(I will review this sometime in the future)Looper.  The biggest news for Rian is the announcement that he will be the writer and director for 2 new Star Wars movies.  Not bad for a guy that wrote a movie, directed it using his old high school as a set and an Apple computer to edit it.  If you’re a fan of noir, new or old and haven’t seen this movie, check it out, if you haven’t seen it in a while it’s worth another viewing.