Movie Review – The Lookout

Chris Pratt (Actor Joseph Gordon-Levitt) is the guy who has it all: rich parents, a hot girlfriend, celebrity status as the star athlete in school. In a blink of an eye, Chris’s former life is gone. Left with a brain injury, he is only a shell of who he used to be. The painful reminders follow him as Chris tries to regain control and live a normal life.

Although Chris is not financially alienated from his family, he is emotionally alienated, and confides in his blind but perceptive roommate, Lewis Canfield (Actor Jeff Daniels). Lewis is the comedic voice of reason and the father figure in Chris’ life. He and Chris’ notebook help Chris get through the day.

One night after his shift as a janitor in a rural Kansas bank, Chris meets Gary Bargo (Actor Matthew Goode). He is Mr. Cool, the confident guy who gets all the girls. Exploiting Chris’ loneliness and insecurities, Gary baits Chris into robbing his bank. This is when Chris’ life turns upside down again.

Typical of this film genre, the plotline of The Lookout is predictable, with large holes in the plan and execution of the robbery…Why would anyone with no criminal background or mindset ever think he could outsmart an entire gang? But the film is not so much about a bank robbery as it is a study of Chris’ fight with his psychological demons and life sequencing. It is a life spun out of control that is desperately trying to be pieced together. The robbery is a symbol of the four year accumulation of bitter struggles, lost battles, and unrequited anger and frustration with the world around him. Chris can either give into the melodramatic fantasy of successfully carrying out a bank heist, or stay true to himself by reexamining what he wants and believes.

Gordon-Levitt portrays Chris hauntingly, with emotions bursting at the seams of an often expressionless containment. Although Chris is not a lovable character, the audience sympathizes with him due to his determination to regain control of his life. Deep within, Chris is an optimist: no matter how many times he breaks down and cries and no matter how many times he is discouraged, he brushes himself up and tries again. Although the robbery may test every belief about himself with which he grapples, in the end, Chris prevails.

Again, typical of this film genre, The Lookout has a slow, repetitive build-up leading into a run-of-the-mill bank robbery. However, the brilliance and introspection of acting in the movie makes up for these moments of plot failure. The movie is about Chris Pratt’s point of view. With great depth and dynamics, the audience experiences the torment of his painful life story.

April 2, 2007
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