are the lookout

The Lookout

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


The Lookout is the directorial debut of the screenwriter Scott Frank. 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.

Although set in Kansas, the bank in the movie was filmed in the town of Hartney, Manitoba 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.


While driving with his headlights off down a country highway, Chris Pratt (Joseph Gordon-Levitt), his girlfriend Kelly (Laura Vandervoort) and two friends crash into a stalled combine on the road. Chris and Kelly survive, but the other two do not. Chris' injuries include brain damage that affects his short-term memory. To compensate for his inability to remember, he keeps notes in a small notebook. He lives with a blind friend named Lewis (Jeff Daniels) who also aids him.

Resulting from his mental incapacitation, he is unable to have meaningful work. Thus he works as a night cleaning man in a small-town bank. It is there he comes under the scrutiny of a gang planning to rob the bank. The leader, Gary (Matthew Goode), befriends him and uses a young woman, Luvlee (Isla Fisher), to seduce him. Confused, but wanting to escape his current existence, he initially goes along with the scheme. After realizing he is being used, he attempts to stop the robbery, which immediately goes awry.

A sheriff's deputy (Sergio Di Zio) stumbles into the robbery while delivering doughnuts to Chris. Guns are fired and the deputy and three gang members are killed. Gary is wounded and one other bank robber, Bone (Greg Dunham), survives. Chris escapes in the car which contains the money they stole; he buries it near where his accident occurred. As this is happening, the robbers kidnap Lewis to get the money back. The robbers and Chris meet to exchange the money for Lewis, but 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 health is rapidly deteriorating. Chris gives one of two bags to Bone, who then prepares to execute Lewis. Chris shoots Bone with a shotgun he'd hidden in one money bag. At the same time, Gary collapses and dies from loss of blood. Chris returns the money and turns himself in. An investigation by the FBI concludes that Chris could not have pulled off the robbery, by himself, due to his mental state — confirmed by video surveillance of the robbery.

The film concludes with Chris and Lewis opening a restaurant financed by the manager of the bank.



From critics the film has earned an aggregated score of 88% at Rotten Tomatoes (145 reviews), 73/100 at Metacritic (32 reviews), and "B" at Yahoo Movies (13 reviews). Particularly favorable reviews came from Richard Roeper and Leonard Maltin, who praised the film as "the best movie so far" of 2007.

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.


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