The Lookout marks Scott Frank’s first film in the director's chair. After penning Dead Again, Little Man Tate, Get Shorty, Out of Sight, Minority Report, Flight of the Phoenix, and The Interpreter (among others), Frank brings his experience from a writer’s standpoint, but puts on his inflatable armbands before diving into the directors’ pool.
In doing so, Scott Frank combines Christopher Nolan’s Memento and Frank Oz’s The Score as obvious influences in crafting The Lookout. With these two muses and their “handicapped” leads in mind, The Lookout is akin to Clark Kent; when the chiseled reporter takes off his glasses and simplistically changes the shape of his hair, it doesn’t fool, convince, or impress the audience. In short, The Lookout is similar to its inspirations but lacks a signature style or visual flair to aid in differentiation.
Of course, that is not to say that The Lookout is a poor mishmash and rehash of Memento and The Score, but considering both of these comparisons exist, they don’t work in The Lookout’s favor. Despite the hype surrounding Frank’s freshman effort, The Lookout is largely a letdown.
On the night of the senior prom, high school hockey superstar Chris Pratt (Joseph Gordon-Levitt) crashes his red Ford Mustang into a stalled combine — killing two and severely injuring himself. Left with a brain injury, Chris is forced to deal with non-physical damages like memory loss, sequencing issues, and the inability to keep his thoughts to himself. Chris keeps a notepad to constantly remind him what to do and where to be.
In addition to his personal counselor, a blind man named Lewis (Jeff Daniels) helps Chris sort out his issues and overcome his obstacles. Considering he is estranged from his parents, Chris lives with Lewis as a friend and fellow disabled. The pair works in tandem, until Gary Spargo (Matthew Goode) and Luvlee (Isla Fisher) “befriend” Chris to help them rob a bank. But, when things go wrong, it is Chris who has the power.