The Lookout

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The Lookout
Promotional movie poster for the film
Directed by Scott Frank
Produced by Walter Parkes
Laurence Mark
Gary Barber
Roger Birnbaum
Written by Scott Frank
Starring Joseph Gordon-Levitt
Jeff Daniels
Matthew Goode
Isla Fisher
Bruce McGill
Music by James Newton Howard
Cinematography Alar Kivilo
Editing by Jill Savitt
Studio Spyglass Entertainment
Distributed by Miramax Films
Release dates March 30, 2007
Running time 99 minutes
Language English
Budget $16,000,000
Box office $5,371,181 (Worldwide)

The Lookout is a 2007 crime film written and directed by Scott Frank, screenwriter of Out of Sight and Get Shorty, starring Joseph Gordon-Levitt, Jeff Daniels, Matthew Goode, and Isla Fisher.

The Lookout is Frank's directorial debut. It was produced by Birnbaum/Barber, Laurence Mark Productions, Parkes/MacDonald Productions, Spyglass Entertainment, and Miramax Films. Miramax distributes the film in the USA, and Buena Vista International elsewhere.


Driving with his headlights off down a country highway, to show his girlfriend, Kelly, and another couple the swarms of fireflies illuminated in the summer night, Chris Pratt crashes his convertible into a combine stalled on the road. Chris and Kelly survive, but the other two do not. Chris' injuries include brain damage that affects his short-term memory in the form similar to anterograde amnesia, along with some anger management issues.

Four years later, he's in classes to learn new skills, including the simple sequencing of daily tasks to compensate for his inability to remember, and keeps notes to himself in a small notebook. Challenged by a tough case manager to build a life despite his injuries, he is emotionally supported by his roommate, a blind man named Lewis, but receives only financial support from his wealthy family. He works nights, cleaning a small-town bank, with regular visitations from Ted, a sheriff's deputy. Chris aspires to train as a teller, but the bank manager, Mr. Tuttle, can barely hide his contempt for Chris' ambitions. It is there Chris comes under the scrutiny of a gang planning to rob the bank. Their leader, Gary, who knew him from high school and resented his wealth and popularity as a hockey star before his accident, befriends him and uses a young woman, Luvlee, to seduce him. Taunted by the gang about the limitations of his life since the accident, he initially goes along with the scheme. His frustrations trickle down into confrontations with his friends, Lewis and Ted.

When the gang arrives the night of the robbery, Chris tells them he has changed his mind. But they tell him it's too late and force him to empty the vault at gunpoint. His friend Ted, the deputy, stumbles into the robbery while delivering doughnuts to Chris, and triggers a shootout. The deputy and two of the gang members, Marty and Cork, are killed. Meanwhile Chris escapes in the getaway car, and when he realizes he's got the money they stole, he returns compulsively to the site of his accident, where he buries the money roadside. Gary is seriously wounded and gets away with the other bank robber, Bone. When Chris returns to his apartment he sees the lights on and realizes something is wrong, and when he calls discovers Gary and Bone have taken Lewis hostage to get the money back. Chris, using his new sequencing skills, hatches a plan to stay alive and save his friend. But the robbers literally catch him napping at the place they arranged to meet, and they force him to take them to the site of the buried cash.

While Chris digs in the snow to retrieve the money, Gary's condition is rapidly deteriorating. Chris gives one of two bags to Bone, who is preparing to execute Lewis, but Chris uses the shotgun he stashed in the other bag to shoot and kill Bone before he can react. Gary collapses and dies. Chris returns the money and turns himself in, but the investigation by the FBI concludes that he was not responsible due to his medical state - and because the robbers failed to disconnect the video surveillance in the bank, allowing the FBI to see the gang forcing Chris to act at gunpoint.

In the aftermath, Chris and Lewis reconcile, and open a restaurant together with a loan from the bank. Chris hopes Kelly will forgive him for the loss of her leg in the accident, and that one day he will find the courage to talk to her again.


Production notes[edit]

Although set near Kansas City, Missouri, the bank in the movie was filmed in the town of Hartney, Manitoba, misspelled Harney in the credits, using the town's Museum, and city scenes were filmed in Winnipeg, Manitoba. Most notably, scenes of the skating rink were filmed behind the Millennium Library, and the exterior of Chris' apartment was filmed in the Exchange District and various historic sites in Winnipeg including the Bank of Montreal (1911–13), the Ambassador Apartments (1909), the interior of the Market Building (1899) and the James Ashdown House at 529 Wellington (1913). The Ambassador Apartments appear on the film's cover.


From critics the film has earned an aggregated score of 87% at Rotten Tomatoes (154 reviews),[1] 73/100 at Metacritic (32 reviews),[2] and "B" at Yahoo Movies (13 reviews).[3] Particularly favorable reviews came from Richard Roeper and Leonard Maltin, who praised the film as "the best movie so far" of the first half of 2007.[4][5]

The Lookout won the award for Best First Feature at the 2008 Independent Spirit Awards.


The score was composed by James Newton Howard and was his first collaboration with director Scott Frank. Frequent collaborators Stuart Michael Thomas and Clay Duncan are credited with additional music. The score was orchestrated by Brad Dechter, Stuart Michael Thomas, and Chris P. Bacon, who also conducted. Several songs were featured including "One Big Holiday" and "Lay Low", both performed by My Morning Jacket.


  1. ^ "The Lookout - Movie Reviews, Trailers, Pictures". Rotten Tomatoes. Retrieved 2013-02-26. 
  2. ^ "Lookout, The (2007): Reviews". 2007-03-30. Retrieved 2013-02-26. 
  3. ^ by Joy   . "The Lookout (2007) - Critics Reviews - Yahoo! Movies". Retrieved 2013-02-26. 
  4. ^ March 23, 2007 episode of Ebert & Roeper
  5. ^ "Leonard's Picks". Archived from the original on 2007-04-27. Retrieved 2013-02-26. 

External links[edit]