This film marked the directorial debut of screenwriter Scott Frank, who also wrote the screenplay. Described in Wikipedia simply as a “crime film”, it also falls into the category of neo-noir.
High school hockey star Chris Pratt (played to perfection by Joseph Gordon-Levitt) crashes his car while on a drive with his girlfriend and another couple. Being a big shot high school hockey star and having a cool car, he unwisely tries to impress his girlfriend by driving at night with the headlights off. As a result of the ensuing crash, the other couple die, while Chris and his girlfriend, Kelly, live. But neither emerges unscathed.
Chris ends up with anterograde amnesia and a few anger management problems. Four years later, he’s working as a night maintenance man at a small town bank. He attends classes to learn new skills, such as how to tell a sequenced story (to overcome his inability to remember things he’s just done). Chris even keeps a notebook to remind himself of what he’s done so he can sequence his day more effectively.
So (you might ask), is this Memento with a young hockey player? Well, yes … and no. The amnesia and the manner in which it’s used against Chris by the bad guys (a group of thugs who want to use him to rob the bank) is reminiscent of Memento. But there’s more to the movie than that.
Chris lives with Lewis, a blind man, and is supported financially by his family. Lewis (of course) can “see” more clearly than Chris that his family isn’t exactly … supportive in ways other than money. Plus, there’s a femme fatale who seduces Chris for the bank robbers (Isla Fisher playing a woman named Luvlee Lemons—no, I don’t believe it, either! 🙂 ). And, naturally, Lewis smells a rat.
Without going into a lot of detail, I’ll just say that Chris’s disability may lead to his predicament, but also ends up being his salvation. In short, The Lookout is a highly suspenseful heist movie, with a twist ending that leaves Chris in a much better place then Leonard, the protagonist in Memento.
I loved this film and highly recommend it!