The Lookout - Movie Reviews - Rotten Tomatoes

The Lookout Reviews

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Super Reviewer
February 28, 2013
This is much more of a character study than it is a thriller with the first half of the film dedicated to just getting you to know the characters and their lives before the drama truly starts. I honestly didn't know where the story was going to go, but I was engrossed because of the nuanced performances of Joseph Gordon-Levitt and Jeff Daniels. The thrills and plot don't really kick in for about 35-40 minutes, but once they do the pacing takings a turn and really ratchets up the suspense. This is a great thriller reminiscent of Memento because of the similar circumstances of the main characters. Levitt plays a character who ends up with significant damage from a car wreck that makes it to where he cannot sequence events properly or handle everyday things without a little bit of a struggle. Much of the suspense and unpredictability of the film comes from not knowing whether his character knows what to do or not. It adds an extra level beyond the standard plot. Matthew Goode adds in a chilling performance as the leader of the bad guys who convince Levitt to help them rob the bank he works for at night as the janitor. The dialogue is well written and the story keeps you on your toes throughout. This is also one of the few times where I really enjoyed the ending. The main characters come full circle and it's just fun to see. I can't ask for much more from a movie like this.
Super Reviewer
December 24, 2012
A taut thriller with great performances, but nothing about 'The Lookout' is extraordinarily memorable or wholly unique. A good script and a decent film, but there is something all too familiar and unoriginal about it, as if its been done before. We've all seen thrillers like this time and time again.
Super Reviewer
½ May 12, 2011
After a tragic car accident leaves him with brain damage and the inability to function beyond a very basic level, a former high school hockey star turned lowely janitor at a bank finds himself drawn into a plot by a former classmate to rob the bank where he works in this taut thriller from screenwriter Scott Frank, who makes his directorial debut here.

Even though this is a crime thriller that belongs into the heist genre, this is ultimately a character study that happens to have crime elements to it. Basically you just mix a bit of Memento with Fargo and throw in a tale of struggle and redemption, and you have this movie.

And, you know what? I really enjoyed the end result. This is a solid film that surprised me with the emphasis on character over action, and how the crime elements are merely just part of the overall scheme of things instead of being the driving force. Of course, they are a big part of the movie, but they're not the focus, and that's cool.

You really grow to care about the protagonist, and you feel for how the events going on affect him, especially since he may not be as over his head as it seems. Don't worry though, Frank keeps this from getting too far into the maddening territory of twists common in the works of Christopher Nolan.

And it's not just the lead that you enjoy watching either. His blind roommate Lewis is a great character, and even the thuggih villain is rather compelling. It really helps too that the film has some great actors giving strong performances, especially Joseph Gordon-Levitt in the lead, Jeff Daniels as Lewis (who really steals his scenes), and Matthew Goode in probably his best performance as Gary the villain. You've also got a decent Isla Fisher as a femme fatale, and brief appearances by Carla Gugino and Alex Borstein, so that's cool too.

All in all, I really liked this and found it to be veryt compelling, engaging, and attention holding. I did take issue with a few thigns that kinda stretched some of the believabiolity, but I won't get into the specifics since that would involving some spoilers. Despite those little issues though, this is some good stuff, albeit maybe not the most memorable film ever (no pun intended). I'm torn on the rating, so let's split the difference and call it a trong B to a light B+.
Super Reviewer
½ March 30, 2012
Reminds me alot of Memento, except not as well done. The Lookout is very thrilling throughout, but I believe it could have had some better direction here and there. All in all, you should definitely watch this film if you are looking for a good mystery and suspense film.
Super Reviewer
½ June 14, 2011
An engaging thriller. Nothing more, nothing less. Joseph Gordon-Levitt's acting is not bad, however it is not convincing to truly believe that his character is suffering through the disability that he is. Direction could've been better as well, but overall, a good movie.
Super Reviewer
½ August 29, 2011
The Lookout is Memento done more as a character study. While the plot is mildly predictable, the film functions as an interesting insight into the life of Chris Pratt, and the things that he struggles with on a daily basis. Some not-so-great decisions lead to some not-so-great consequences, that he must deal with for the rest of his life. Gordon-Levitt is great, as usual, at hinting at the deeper struggles of his character. The film is smart and thrilling, and just plain enjoyable.
Super Reviewer
½ May 5, 2011
Though familiar, Scott Frank's The Lookout is a smart crime film. The script is poignant with their characters' realistic mindsets and actors that portray them with enough believability. Frank artfully blended engaging suspense and sharp performances that never overpowers the protagonist's own tragedy.
Super Reviewer
April 7, 2007
A solidly entertaining and surprisingly original heist flick.
Super Reviewer
½ March 14, 2011
The Lookout is a solid suspense/crime film that you will remember for it's shocking introduction. Learning about the main character's past and issues is also a lot more interesting to watch than the criminal act he gets pushed into.
Super Reviewer
½ February 5, 2010
It is pretty slow and dull, but I admire the style it took! It is not anything I would take the time to watch again, it's definitely not a bad movie, but I just didn't like it!
Super Reviewer
July 7, 2010
The Lookout is a stellar film with a great cast. This is a very good Crime Thriller, as a young man who copes with the aftermath of his car accident is unwillingly set up to take part in the heist at the small town bank he works at. At first it's a game of setting up the guy, and he doesn't know whats going on, but he starts to notice somethings up. The tension slowly builds up, and director Scott Frank masterfully paces and steadily elevates the story so it doesn't attack you all at once. The Lookout is a terrific Crime Thriller with a bit of action, and is an impressive debut from first time director, Scott Frank. The cast he has assembled here is simply terrific, there is not one bad character, every character is well written and well developed. It's also very surprising to me to have seen Isla Fisher in this film, especially after seeing her in Hot Rod and Wedding Crashers, I didn't think she'd be able to pull off a serious role, but she did. Joseph-Gordon Levitt gives a stellar performance as Chris Pratt, the unwilling pawn in the bank heist. A solidly well paced and acted out thriller, The Lookout delivers.
Mr Awesome
Super Reviewer
May 10, 2010
The Lookout is an indie film with a simple story: a young man suffers a brain injury after a car accident and is used by some bank robbers to help rob a bank. This movie reminded me a little of "Before The Devil Knows Your Dead" and "A History of Violence" only it's vastly inferior to both (critics seem to be giving it positive reviews based more on it's indie cred than anything). High schooler Chris Pratt (Joseph Gordon-Levitt) is out with his girlfriend and another couple on prom night. They're driving down a deserted country road, looking at fireflies with the headlights turned off. One thing leads to another and Pratt is living his day to day life one step at a time, unable to process simple tasks or properly sequence the steps of his daily routines. Living with a colorful, yet dignified blind man (Jeff Daniels), his life is mundane and sad. He goes to a special class and works as a janitor at a small town bank. Things perk up for him when he meets Gary (Matthew Goode), a cool, tattooed Tommy Lee type who introduces him to some hot girls ("Wedding Crasher"s hot psycho, Isla Fisher) and cool bros. Before long, he's running with the kind of crowd his blind mentor disapproves of. They enlist his help in casing the bank, plying him with dreams wealth and respect (something he hasn't had since his high school days). It's clear the film is inspired by better films and I think director Scott Frank does a fine job, but story (also written by Frank) is weak and derivative. It's high school fantasy-type stuff that never goes deeper than the surface. It's fine for what it is, which is a middle-of-the-road, low budget indie film, just don't expect too much.
Super Reviewer
½ August 9, 2009
Joseph Gordon-Levitt plays a guy named Chris Pratt, an allstar athlete at his high school who's life goes spiraling down after a horrific car accident that put him in a coma. When he awakens he is a changed person. He has memory problems so he has to use a notepad to right down everything he does or needs to do so he can remember them. He also takes medication to help him with his illness. To help him cope with life is his blind roommate Lewis (played by Jeff Daniels). Chris Pratt now works in a bank as the night janitor. After work he goes to a local bar where he meets Gary Spargo. Gary soon enough cons his way into Chris's life and there on talks Chris into helping him and his gang rob the bank Chris works at. Chris feeling like he has no power in his life thinks this will give him some of his life back. Although on the night of the robbery Chris has doubts and decides he wants no part in it, but Gary and his gang don't agree. That's when things start unraveling quickly.
It was a great movie with great performances. Joseph Gordon-Levitt, in my opinion is one of the best young male actor's today. He can play any part. Definitely not the normal bank robbing movie. Jeff Daniels was BRILLIANT as always. I thought Matthew Goode (who played Gary) was a great villain. It was half drama and half thriller. Just really good.
Super Reviewer
August 3, 2007
Gloomy and grimy.
Super Reviewer
August 28, 2007
When you have great character suspense pieces like this one, you sometimes question the need for big dumb action flicks.
Joseph Fordon Levitt is quickly on his way to becoming the next Johnny Depp. He gives a subtle and brilliant performance as an ex-hockey player who has no short term memory. The film follows a Memento-like plot, but The Lookout is a character study first, a heist thriller second. Scott Frank blends these two aspects perfectly to create one hell of a film.
From the opening sequence to the last, The Lookout offers tense, well paced action. The film takes its time getting to know every character, which also allows for great supporting performances by Matthew Goode, the great Jeff Daniels, and Isla Fisher. When Act Three begins, you will be stuck to your seat until the credits role. The Lookout is smart, suspenseful, and downright awesome!
Super Reviewer
May 25, 2009
Well written crime drama with a surprising and outstanding performance from Joseph Gordon-Levitt. Uusually this type is a one time thing but I'd watch this one again.
Super Reviewer
½ July 2, 2007
One of the best movies of 2007. Although the genre of "heist thriller" has been used countless times, this one ranks amongst the best. Director Frank not only takes common people (with the exception of Gordon-Levitt's character) and turns them into intriguing characters, he gives us a dark, dreary, and depressed lead man you can't help but root for. I can't say enough about how well this film is executed and how fascinating each scene was. Not a "shoot em up" sort of thriller by any means, but more of a character study, and I admire any director (especially a first timer) that shows a completely different dimension to a film that has a similar plot, but is completely different in terms of characters and the decisions they make.
Super Reviewer
November 16, 2008
"Whoever has the money has the power"

Chris is a once promising high school athlete whose life is turned upside down following a tragic accident. As he tries to maintain a normal life, he takes a job as a janitor at a bank, where he ultimately finds himself caught up in a planned heist.

The Lookout is an expertly crafted thriller. Never in a hurry. Never over-written or too flashy. It flows with the ease and subtlety of a mountain stream. Joseph Gordon-Levitt rehashes a quiet, quirky and likeable character, very similar to his role in 'Brick'. The film's strongest characteristic is its realistic feel and pace. It almost feels like this really happened, like someone was just there filming actual events. The supporting roles are perfectly cast. It's nice to see that there are some filmmakers out there not afraid to do things the old way. A successfully minimized, and realistic thriller. A cross between Hitchcock and the Coen bros. Highly recommended.
Super Reviewer
January 30, 2009
The posters and cover art for this film really sell it short: It's not a crime caper, it's a character study about a very interesting character with a very prominant problem. Joseph Gordon-Levitt masterfully creates Chris Pratt, the protagonist who serves as the X factor in his own life. The brain injury he sustained impairs his cognitive function and makes everything in life difficult for him, which kind of makes his behaviour unpredictable. Little does Gary realize that it's a bit of a mistake to try to take advantage of someone like that. Really though, I found that the bank robbery plot was just window-dressing for the much more interesting element of Chris himself, dealing with his handicap and the guilt that came with it. Jeff Daniel's character also helped round him out. This movie is something special.
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