The Lookout, Blu-ray (2007)

by | Aug 18, 2007 | DVD & Blu-ray Video Reviews | 0 comments

The Lookout, Blu-ray (2007)

Starring: Jeff Daniels, Matthew Goode, Joseph Gordon-Levitt
Studio: Miramax 54410
Video: 2.40:1 enhanced for 16:9 color, 1080p HD
Audio: English Uncompressed 5.1 (48K/24bit), English or French DD 5.1
Subtitles: English SDH, French, Spanish
Extras: Making-of featurette: “Sequencing The Lookout;” “Behind the Mind of Chris Pratt” – interview with Gordon-Levitt; Audio commentary by writer/director Scott Frank and D.P. Alar Kivillo; Movie showcase
Length: 99 minutes
Rating: *****

An exceptional thriller from the screenwriter of Get Shorty, who got the opportunity to also direct this feature which was shot in Manitoba but takes place in a small Kansas town. The settings and people – especially the doughnut-delivering cop – reminded me of Fargo. Though basically a bank heist crime thriller, the engaging story line centers on Chris Pratt’s constant challenges to maintain something like a normal life in spite of the serious head injury from which he suffers.

He has to write down the sequences of everything he does and has social difficulties due to his suddenly spouting things that are inappropriate to a situation. His injury came from a car crash four years earlier in which he was driving with three classmates with the lights out to experience the fireflies all around the highway. He has a lonely night job as a janitor in an out-of-the-way small bank, and falls for a con man (who may or may not be a former student at the same high school) who lures him to be the lookout for the robbery by tales of money, power and a better life. His blind roommate, played superbly by Jeff Daniels, tells him to get a
grip on his sequences by starting at the end and then going backwards. 
That and the general subject of the protagonist’s affliction made me
think the Lookout would be a great double feature with Memento. Unexpected turns of plot  abound as the heist (naturally) goes sour.  Actor Gordon-Levitt in his interview praises the director for not succumbing to the usual Hollywood super-happy ending. 

Nothing showy about the cinematography, but the added resolution in small details aids in putting the viewer in the reality of the Kansas town. The transfer is excellent, with plenty happening in the dark areas of the images. The uncompressed soundtrack is especially effective in the gunfight scene, making one appreciate how much was lost in standard Dolby 5.1 soundtracks on DVDs vs. what was on the original soundtracks. (By the way, I’m running the six-channel analog cables from my Pioneer Blu-ray player thru the same 6-channel switcher as my two universal hi-res audio players, rather than using the HDMI connection.)  James Newton Howard’s soundtrack music stays in the background but enhances the story’s moods successfully.

 – John Sunier

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