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April 2007


By Nicole Schmuelian



Distributor: Miramax Films
Director: Scott Frank
Screenwriter: Scott Frank

Cinematographer: Alar Kivil
Composer: James Newton Howard
Cast: Joseph Gordon-Levitt, Jeff Daniels, Isla Fisher, Matthew Goode, Carla Gugino, Aaron Berg, Kalyn Bomback, Alex Borstein, Paul Christie, Sergio Di Zio, Morgan Kelly, Suzanne Kelly, Tracy McMahon, Toni Reimer, Janaya Stephens, Laura Vandervoort, Courtney-Jane White


Joseph Gordon-Levitt has taken a fascinating path as an actor to say the least; recently playing in indie films such as Skin (2005) and Brick (2006) his role in the Lookout is no exception. His character Chris Pratt, a boy with a bright future, looses it all when he gets into a car accident killing two of his friends and injuring himself and his girlfriend.

Gordon-Levitt doesn’t exaggerate Chris Pratt’s severe brain injury he subtlety reveals through simple day-to-day tasks Chris’ challenges. Co-star Jeff Daniels’character differs from Chris because as a blind man he embraces his disability rather than being self-conscious or self-loathing. The two are a unique pair and Jeff Daniels’ humor in relation to their handicaps is hilarious. Scott Frank, screenwriter makes his debut as director in this film. His approach is unique because he doesn’t make the film merely about Chris Pratt’s brain injury, and his struggle to fit in; Frank incorporates the drama in with a bank robbery.

Gary Spargo played by Mathew Goode (Match Point) befriends Chris Pratt because he works as a janitor at a bank. Gary slowly reels Chris into his plans on heisting the bank he is employed at by playing on Chris’ insecurities of feeling so powerless. Gary tries to convince him that “money is power” and Chris wants to believe that is the truth. Isla Fisher, who plays Luvlee, is also an accomplice to Gary Spargo. She uses her sexuality to seduce Chris. The actors in this film have such range and it’s exciting to watch them take on these roles.

The end is a bit ambiguous in the sense that it leaves many questions unanswered but that is also the strength of the film. It asks the audience to come up with their own conclusions. The motives of some characters may not be clear and you may also wonder if the protagonist is in fact redeemable. The Lookout is a film that actually asks the audience to get involved and engage in discourse. Who would have thought that films can still actually stimulate the audience and have them leaving the theater filled with ideas?