Tuesday, September 04, 2007

The Lookout: Grade C


The Lookout (2007)

Joseph Gordon-Levitt, Jeff Daniels, Matthew Goode. Writer-Director Scott Frank

A high school student (Gordon-Levitt) suffers severe head injury in a stupid car crash in which several of his friends were killed. We come upon him 2 years later in rehabilitation classes trying to improve his memory, speech, and social skills. It is a realistic and sensitive portrayal of recovery from moderately severe brain injury but extremely slow moving and repetitive. The first 45 minutes of the film could have been conveyed in a few lines of dialog. The character’s blind roommate is Daniels, who leavens the depressive tone with sarcasm, but otherwise is a vague and undeveloped character. Finally the protagonist meets a cute stripper in a bar and the story begins. She seems to care for him, but as soon as he has sex with her, she is written out of the story without a trace, her entire presence reduced to the role of an ashtray. The hero, meanwhile, is a night janitor at a rural bank in Kansas. Some bad guys led by Goode manipulate him into helping rob the bank. The heist goes bad and the movie ends where it began, a young man with brain damage trying to make his way in life. It’s like a tedious documentary about living with brain trauma, with a bank heist thrown in for excitement. The documentary is boring and the bank heist is stereotypical, so the whole thing adds up to a question mark. Strong acting by Gordon-Levitt and Goode make the film watchable.

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