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.

Review: A Walk Among the Tombstones


A Walk Among the Tombstones is a Matthew Scudder movie from 2014.  Matthew Scudder is a character written by Lawrence Block that has been in one other movie and in 17 books.  This story comes from the 10th book in the series.  I’ve recently just read the first book in the series and reviewed it here:

Though I’ve only read one book and now seen this movie, I’m a big fan of Scudder and look forward to reading more of the books.  Liam Neeson plays Scudder, a recovering alcoholic, ex-police officer that isn’t a private detective, but does favors for people and for those favors, these people give Scudder gifts.

This film is written for the screen and directed by Scott Frank who also wrote and directed The Lookout.  He is also bringing another classic noir character to the screen soon, Hoke Mosely a character that has appeared in 5 books by Charles Willeford.  This story will be coming to the television screen instead of the big screen, but I still look forward to seeing it when it is released.  Frank has also written many other crime and neo-noir stories for the screen, he seems to have a good sense of taking a classic crime or noir novel and bringing it screen.

Some of the notable supporting cast is David Harbour, who often plays the creepy character, goes above and beyond in this film.  Dan Stevens plays a drug dealer/business type very well.  Stevens come onto my radar after his starring role in “The Guest.”  The Guest is a very fun movie that covers a lot of genres, if you haven’t seen it yet, I recommend it as well.  Ólafur Darri Ólafsson also plays a pretty creepy role that is a very interesting character.

So the story for this movie is a fellow AA member’s brother needs Scudder’s help.  Scudder meets with him and quickly figures out that he is a drug dealer.  This dealer has had his wife kidnapped and killed, but because he is a drug dealer he can not ask for the police’s help.  He asks Scudder for help and soon Scudder takes on the case.  The story takes off from there.  This is not only a neo-noir film in story, but is very much filmed in a classic noir style as well.  I really enjoyed this story and the visuals of the film. I really hope this is a new franchise for Liam Neeson now that Taken has run its course.  I would really look forward to seeing more movies with him as Scudder.  If you’re a Lawrence Block fan, or a Liam Neeson fan, or just a fan of a hardboiled tone, you will like this film.