When I sat down to watch The Lookout, a 2007 movie written and directed by Scott Frank, but of which I knew little or nothing, my expectations weren't especially high. It turned out to be one of those very enjoyable experiences, when one stumbles upon something quite excellent, rather by chance. It's a good thriller,but it also makes some good points about the way the world treats people with disabilities.
Chris (Joseph Gordon-Levitt) is young, rich and high-achieving man driving a car with three friends one night when, while showing off, he is involved in a terrible accident. Two passengers die, his girlfirend loses her leg,and he suffers brain damage. Four years later, he is working as a janitor in a bank, trying to cope with severe memory problems. His family is kind, but struggles to deal with him on his own terms, and he lives with a blind man, Lew, played by the ever-dependable Jeff Bridges.
Another young man, Gary (the English actor Matthew Goode), befriends him, and introduces him to the affectionate ex-pole dancer Luvlee (Isla Fisher, an Austrlian - yes, it's a cosmopolitan cast for a film set in a small American town, though actually filmed in Canada). Unfortunately, Gary's motives are base - he and his chums are planning to rob Chris's bank, and they need his help. The film is very good indeed on the subtle ways in which able-bodied people can mistreat those with disabilities. This is a subject which has interested me for years, and I've never seen a crime film deal with it better than this one.
The Lookout is not a formulaic movie, and you never quite know what will happen next. Suffice to say that I found the story satisfying, and very well written. The acting is absolutely excellent, and I'm surprised this film isn't better known. I really can recommend it, and there are one or two scenes that will linger in my memory for a long time to come.
Finally, I'm about to set off on my travels again. The last six months have involved a lot of activity on The Golden Age of Murder, The Dungeon House, and anthologies and introductions for the British Library Crime Classics series, and now I'm going to get away for it all for a while and think out the storyline of my next novel. There will be regular scheduled blog posts on a variety of subjects as usual, but internet access will be patchy, so I may be slow at times in responding to comments. But please do keep them coming...And one thing I'll miss whilst I'm away is an episode of Mastermind in which the Harry Devlin novels are a special subject. Fame at last! It's nice to think that Harry may just gain a new lease of life, and some new readers, as a result. I'm fond of the old chap, and enjoy writing up his cases enormously.