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Are You Looking? Look At Me. I'm Looking Too.
by Jon Schuller

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People who find themselves in situations not of their own making are a common movie theme. They're innocents in the world, not ever involved with crime or other dangerous games. They've become unlucky, somehow, and find that their previous, easy-going lives have been altered or disappeared altogether; they're now surrounded by other, deadly company. Certainly not people anyone would actually choose to know. Their ultimate fate is in doubt. One such situation was dramatized in a marvelous film that premiered on March 30, 2007. The Lookout starred Joseph Gordon-Levitt, and featured Jeff Daniels, Matthew Goode, Isla Fisher and Laura Vandervoort.

Chris Pratt (Levitt) was a high school sports legend and attracting girls hasn't ever been a problem. While driving one night, he crashes his car as two occupants are killed and Chris and Kelly, his girlfriend (Vandervoort), survive. Today, four years later, he still has trouble remembering simple tasks and must keep a
notebook. He's guided in classes for a new life even with the physical and mental injuries he sustained. He does get a small amount of money from his wealthy family, but that's all he receives from them. He shares a small apartment with his friend, Lewis (Daniels), who is blind. Chris works at night cleaning a local bank and is checked on every night by another friend, Ted (Sergio Di Zio), a deputy sheriff, who always brings donuts. Mr. Tuttle, the bank's manager, doesn't encourage Chris in any way, especially when Chris asks if he can apply for a teller's position.

Chris' daily routine has been observed for a while by the leader of a gang, Gary (Goode), who knew Chris in high school. Gary was jealous of Chris' wealth and popularity back then and pretends they had good times together. Chris only vaguely remembers him as Gary arranges for a local hooker, Luvlee Lemons (Fisher), to seduce Chris. But it's all a charade and Chris slowly begins to realize that he's being
used as Gary tells him he going to be the lookout while Gary and his gang rob the bank. Lewis and Ted have noticed a definite change in Chris' behavior.

The gang gets to the bank and Chris tells them he can't do it. But it's too late and he's forced to help them with the vault. As Ted drives up on his nightly rounds, he notices that Chris isn't around as usual. He realizes what's going on and a shootout with the gang erupts as Ted and two gang members are shot. In the confusion, Chris escapes, steals the getaway car with the money in it and, suddenly, drives to the scene of his life-changing automobile accident, burying the money there. Gary's been badly wounded but he and Bone, a surviving gang member, escape. Chris goes back to his apartment and discovers that the bad guys have taken Lewis hostage so they can get the money back. Chris begins to devise a plan to save his best friend.

Gary and Bone take Chris to the place where he hid the cash. Chris has put a
shotgun in one of the money bags. He gives the other cash bag to Bone, then shoots him. Gary dies from his multiple wounds and Chris rescues Lewis. He turns in the money and the FBI concludes, from video surveillance recordings, that Chris was forced by the gang to help them.

He and Lewis get a loan from the bank to open their own restaurant and Chris tries to reconcile himself to the past, especially with Kelly, as he continues to improve his memory and other skills.

The Lookout is definitely a must-see movie. The plot is tense, believable and keeps you paying attention. The characters are realistically played by a great group of actors. The lead, Joseph Gordon-Levitt, is a talented actor and he's been in several other good films and television programs. He started out as a child star and has created his own production company and directs and writes as well. I think you'll enjoy this film and its interesting plot twists and turns. One thing, for sure: you won't be bored.

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Cinema Savant
Every other Thursday

My views on an eclectic mix of films and personalties, past and present; emotional interpretations; some laughs, some cries.

Other Columns
Other columns by Jon Schuller:

Have You Been Spying On Me Lately? For How Long?

But Can She Act? That's What I Want to Know

They're Not the Same People They Used To Be

Time Does Fly When We Watch Movies

Before Minimum or Maximum, There Was Only Prison

All Columns

Jon Schuller
I am a former New Jersey native, living in Charlotte, N.C. for almost 30 years. I am a lifelong movie lover with lots of movie trivia knowledge and soundtracks in my CD collection. I enjoy sharing my love of films with everyone and have so many fond memories growing up in darkened movie theaters. I have been married 50 years (as of December 22, 2018) and we both share a passion for film (and each other of course).

If you have a comment, question, or suggestion, you can send a message to Jon Schuller by clicking here.

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