The Lookout

Rated 4.0

After a brain-injuring car accident, a formerly rich and reckless Midwestern youngster tries to decide whether his reassembled life should include robbing a bank. It’s the latest this-kid-is-good vehicle for star Joseph Gordon-Levitt, and, yes, he is, but so are Matthew Goode as the low-rent criminal mastermind who exploits him and Jeff Daniels as a wizened moral supporter. Having done well by adapting Elmore Leonard books—Out of Sight, Get Shorty—for other directors, screenwriter Scott Frank tried for years to hand off The Lookout, also in its way a caper movie, but benefited from finally directing it himself. Taking the time to get it right is actually one of this story’s production values. Frank wants to drive the film by its characters, which is noble, but oversimplifies their motives and moralities, which is problematic. For all the fine performances, still, it has something of the after-school special in it.