The Lookout Reviews
Chris Pratt (Joseph Gordon-Levitt) is mentally wounded. As a teenager, he was in a serious car accident that killed two passengers. Some would say that they're luckier than he is. Chris' head injury is so severe that on the back of his driver's license there's a disclaimer, warning anybody and everybody that he may suddenly get angry, go into a jumbled rant, etc etc. Day by day, he has to write down his every activity in order to strengthen his ability to sequence events. His life is a maze of incomplete thoughts and frustrations.
He takes a job as a janitor at a dead end bank, hoping it will bring him some meaning to his dull life. Things suddenly take a turn for the bad, however, when he is manipulated by a criminal (Matthew Goode) into serving as an accomplice to a bank robbery.
"The Lookout" could be slick, but with a man like Chris Pratt at its center, it's hard to take it seriously as a heist movie. Chris makes for an unusually touching leading character. There is something so inexplicably innocent about him. Most would consider a naïve ingenue or a toddler to be "innocent", but Chris' inability to even form a sentence without having to think makes him even more vulnerable than an elementary aged child. Levitt's performance is highly sensitive; his slight limp, sluggish blinks and sad eyes fully form a character who isn't even fully formed on a personal level.
The story, unfortunately, isn't quite as strong as its characters. Chris is more than just a little complicated, and so are the people around him. Yet, they don't seem to fit very well into a heist movie that wants to be a neo-noir. A "Fargo"-esque project or a Robert Altman helmed film would serve them better, because in the short 99 minutes "The Lookout" stretches, there is so much we want to know but never will.
Amidst the guns, snow, leather jackets, and middle-of-nowhere small towns, "The Lookout" is an intimate, surprisingly human heist movie. If only it weren't a heist movie. If only it was strictly a character study. If only it was a few minutes longer ... if only. Scott Frank has the ability to write characters we could watch as the basis of an Emmy-winning TV series. It's rare to want a movie to go farther than it actually does, and with "The Lookout"'s quality, I wanted a few tastes more.