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Category:    Home > Reviews > Drama > Thriller > The Lookout (2007/first Miramax Blu-ray + DVD releases)

The Lookout (2007, Blu-ray + DVD-Video)

 

Picture: B+/B-     Sound: B+/B-     Extras: B     Film: B

 

 

Nobody is 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:

 

http://www.fulvuedrive-in.com/review/5244/Grindhouse/The+Reaping/The+Hoax

 

 

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.

 

Now, it 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.

 

Gordon-Levitt 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.

 

The film 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 film.

 

The 1080p 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.

 

Both discs 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.

 

Extras are 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


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