The Lookout (2007, Blu-ray + DVD-Video)
B+/B- Sound: B+/B- Extras: B Film: B
picking more interesting roles to take on in filmmaking these days than Joseph
Gordon-Levitt. After recent artistic
triumphs like Brick, he is setting
himself up to be one of the best actors and stars of his generation long after
his TV days. Scott Frank’s The Lookout (2007) remains one of the
best films of the year and we felt that way when it was released in theaters
earlier in the year, as this review will attest to explaining the film’s story:
Like Grindhouse, it did not do anywhere near
the business it should have or deserved to have, though it did get at least
some promotion. We were concerned
Grindhouse was going to annihilate it, but when both did not do well, the whole
industry was stunned. Expectations were
higher for Grindhouse, but if it was
a hit, we were hoping for spillover business to go to The Lookout.
is getting a much-deserved second chance on Blu-ray and HD-DVD. Watching it again after a few months of
recommending it to everyone I could, the film holds up very well. Gordon-Levitt’s work is even better than I
thought, Jeff Daniels gives one of the best performances of his career and
Matthew Goode is even uglier and dirtier in his thankless role than I first
realized. The best thing is that Frank’s
script is as much a character study as thriller and it is more than worthy of
an Academy Award nomination.
has to be convincing as the popular guy on top of the world, then turn around
and play the same person with permanent memory loss from an accident that
almost killed him and killed his friends.
There is a unique sadness throughout the film, no matter how good or bad
anyone is and this touches every character.
Now with his permanent mental brain condition, his dreams of being a
sports ace and living The American Dream are gone. That is in part how he lands up in the
dilemma he becomes embroiled in against his will and knowledge at first.
does not suggest this split, but it makes sense and is far more advanced and
serious (with some ironic humor) than Frank’s previous and memorable work on Out Of Sight (see our HD-DVD review
elsewhere on this site) and Get Shorty. He also proves with no doubt that he can
direct and we all hope this is the beginning of a great career. Instead of a film that is just a gritty
downer, it is a nuanced, mature work that is a must see for anyone who loves
2.35 X 1 digital High Definition image on the Blu-ray and standard
anamorphically enhanced DVD was shot by Alar Kivilo, A.S.C., C.S.C., in actual
high definition throughout and is one of the best such shoots to date, outdoing
impressive work on the likes of Apocalypto,
Grindhouse, the awful looking Click and already dated Superman Returns. Of course, it is not the most colorful film,
but that works to its advantage. You can
see some very micro sized noise even on the Blu-ray image, which makes the
decent DVD look more limited in comparison than it might on its own. I had seen this in 35mm and the print looked
so good that I was not certain if it was 35mm, 16mm, HD or a combo thereof. That they did not gut the color they did get
too much is an artistic triumph in itself.
have Dolby Digital 5.1 tracks, but the Blu-ray also offers a markedly improved
PCM 48/24 5.1 mix that is much more like it, with fuller dialogue, a better
soundfield, better ambient sound and richness that makes (with its HD image)
far more involving. Though this is not a
slam-bang sound mix, it is exceptional for a quiet thriller with some
impressive moments in the mix that show much more character than much
larger-budget releases. James Newton
Howard’s score is one of his best of late to boot.
the same on both versions as well and a making of featurette called “Sequencing The Lookout”, “Behind The Mind Of Chris Pratt” featurette and an
exceptionally strong audio commentary by Frank and Kivilo. Get this any way you can, but if you are
lucky enough to have and get it in Blu-ray, boy, are you in for a big
surprise! Either way, don’t miss it!
- Nicholas Sheffo