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Saturday, May 18
The Indiana Daily Student

Worth looking out for

Joseph Gordon-Levitt is beginning to become the noir posterboy.

While Joseph Gordon-Levitt may still be known to many as that kid from "3rd Rock from the Sun," the 25-year-old actor has skillfully performed a string of interesting, challenging leads ("Manic," "Mysterious Skin" and the over-acclaimed "Brick"). With "The Lookout," Gordon-Levitt continues his recent trend of dark, "edgy" films and excels in what is perhaps his best role yet. He plays Chris Pratt, a young man struggling to gain power and positive momentum in his life after a brain injury destroys his once privileged existence.\nThe story, told by "The Lookout," of Pratt's life post-brain damage is immediately compelling, a little reminiscent of Christopher Nolan's "Memento." From the get-go it is wrenching and stylishly presented. Pratt's impaired memory-sequencing ability, impulse control and motor skills are great obstacles to his daily functioning, let alone his attainment of a satisfying life. "The Lookout" raises the stakes and the suspense when Pratt is bated by the promise of friendship, sex and financial power to help commit a bank robbery. Trying to dissuade him from taking a bad turn is his blind and somewhat eccentric roommate, Lewis, played by Jeff Daniels, whose performance is one of the highlights of the film. \nUnfortunately, Gordon-Levitt and Daniels' roles aside, the characters in this film are weak often to the point of being generic. Matthew Goode ("Match Point") is all right as a sleazy guy looking to take advantage of Pratt's mental instability. But other characters are flat. These include Pratt's powerful and disapproving father, his femme fatale girlfriend Luvlee (Isla Fisher, "Wedding Crashers"), a goofy doughnut-loving cop, several guys who could just as well have been extras borrowed from "The Fast and The Furious" and a criminal mastermind who distinguishes himself by dressing exclusively in outfits that look like they are from the Bad Guys R'Us outlet mall. \nFurther weakening the film is that the whole bank robbery aspect of the movie fails to be well-plotted or entirely believable, and yet it develops into the focal point. Had this part of the film been as strong as that which focuses on Pratt's more mundane struggles, "The Lookout" would surely be a top-notch film. Fortunately, the film is not ruined by its shortcomings. If you are mainly interested in a great crime film, look elsewhere, but if you want to see an engaging drama that spotlights the talents of Gordon-Levitt, go see this movie.

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