If life was a competition, then Chris Pratt (Joseph Gordon Levitt) would be seeded one millionth. Nursing a serious head injury after causing a fatal car accident, the unfortunately named Pratt has both physical disability and painful levels of guilt to overcome in Scott Frank’s film noir thriller. Prior to this directorial debut, Frank authored the screenplays of several Elmore Leonard adaptations, including Steven Soderbergh’s Out of Sight, and his original script for The Lookout offers the same narrative corkscrew of downbeat characters and tense situations as Pratt gets sucked into acting as inside man for a heist organised by amoral hood Spargo (Matthew Goode).
The bloody aftermath of The Lookout’s botched heist is predictable, but there’s a gallery of well-drawn characters on the way; Isla Fisher as gangster’s moll Luvlee, Sergio de Zio as an over-friendly police deputy, and Jeff Daniels as a blind friend of Pratt’s who admits he’s been ‘turned down more often than the beds at the Holiday Inn’. The pivotal device in Franks’ script, a notepad which Pratt uses to sequence his daily routines, inevitably evokes comparisons with Memento, but this film’s subtle evocation of small town purgatory makes it well worth looking out for.
General release from Fri 2 Nov.