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.
An admired high school hockey player with a bright future foolishly takes a drive in the night with his girlfriend and two other friends with his headlights off with devastating results. The former athlete is left with a brain injury that prevents him from remembering many things for extended periods of time. To compensate, he keeps notes in a small notebook to aid him in remembering what he is to do. He also lives with a blind friend who aids him. Obviously, with the mental incapacitation, he is unable to have meaningful work. Thus he works as a night cleaning man in a bank. It is there he comes under the scrutiny of a gang planning to rob the bank. The leader befriends him and gets him involved with a young woman who further reels him in. After they get close and after reeling him in with his own failures, the bank plan unfolds. Confused but wanting to escape his current existence, he initially goes along with the scheme. After realizing he is being used, he attempts to stop the ... Written by
John Sacksteder <email@example.com>
To be more convincing as a blind man, Jeff Daniels spent time at the Michigan Commission for the Blind Training Center in Kalamazoo, observing and learning some basic skills used by blind people on a daily basis. See more »
If you look at the Jetta that Chris drives, you will notice that the amount of damage to the bug-deflector on the front of his car changes almost every time we see the vehicle. It starts off with the left side of the bug deflector missing, then both sides are missing and finally it goes back to just the left side missing. See more »
It only happens once a year, and then they die. It's like a mating ritual or something.
Isn't that romantic?
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An absorbing study of depression and rehabilitation
So you want a good heist film? See Dog Day Afternoon, as tense a study in botched robbery and kidnapping to come out of the '70's as any. Don't think the sweet Lookout will carry the same tension because it so heavily relies on the character exposition of its protagonist, Chris (Joseph Gordon-Levitt), that the heist is just an artful ending to an absorbing study of depression and rehabilitation.
Chris, a rock-star hockey player in high school, terminates that celebrity with a reckless accident that leaves him impaired emotionally and physically. So he's easy prey for a gang that entices him to help them rob a rural Kansas bank, where he is a janitor. Up to the point of the gang contacting him, Chris tries heroically to perform actions in a logical sequence. But even his family, especially his father, is impatient with his arrested development, although they are generous in financially supporting him as he goes on the mend.
Writer/director Scott Frank rarely lets Chris out of the frame, to good effect, because the actor and his lamentable past draw us into his narrow world in sympathy but not pity. Chris is determined to arrange his life in a sequence, with the help of his notebook and roomie, a blind and perceptive, bearded, guitar-playing Jeff Daniels, whose lines provide humor and balancing perspective as Chris slips into the heist. Both actors exude realistic, humorous, world weary personas that perfectly reveal the ambivalence Chris brings to this life-defining crime.
The Lookout is a small film, released at dumping time right after the Oscars, but an invigorating study of humans under stress. It begs all of us to "lookout" where we are going, either on a lonely road with our lights turned off or in a plan to steal from farmers who have made life possible.
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