Generally favorable reviews - based on 33 Critics

Critic score distribution:
  1. Positive: 27 out of 33
  2. Negative: 0 out of 33
Watch On
  1. If you enjoyed any of Frank's previous work, or thought "Brick" was the bomb, you'll love this.
  2. Reviewed by: Robert Wilonsky
    Gordon-Levitt's worth the admission all by his lonesome. He's that good--the proverbial young man with an old soul who brings unexpected depth, complexity, and sincerity to what could have been just another damaged-guy role. He's the one to look out for.
  3. 88
    The Lookout is Frank's show. He's crafted a haunting and hypnotic film that transcends pulp by creating characters that get under your skin.
  4. Reviewed by: Claudia Puig
    Rarely does a first-time director make as auspicious a debut as Scott Frank has done with the haunting, engrossing and intelligent thriller The Lookout.
  5. Nobody can play stupid better than Daniels – think "Dumb and Dumber" – and, as it turns out, few can play smarter. He's a sharp asset in a sharp movie.
  6. 83
    The Lookout's thriller elements could stand to be more surprising, but they're ultimately in service of a better understanding of the characters. Usually, it's the other way around.
  7. Reviewed by: Joe Leydon
    A stealthy neo-noir drama that isn't afraid to take its time developing characters on the way to the payoff of a neatly designed caper scenario.
  8. Frank's writing is razor-sharp, his filmmaking whistle-clean. As a fan of sharp razors and clean whistles, I enjoyed The Lookout--yet I did feel let down by the climax, which ought to have been blunter and messier and crazier and more cathartic.
  9. 80
    The Lookout is funny, tender and littered with elegantly written characters played by actors cast for goodness of fit rather than star wattage.
  10. A writer's thriller. True, it's cleanly and efficiently directed, and it showcases some crackerjack acting, but the reason it's a real pleasure to watch is that a writer's sensibility is the foundation everything is built on.
  11. We saw what Mr. Gordon-Levitt could do in such diverse films as "Mysterious Skin" and "Brick," and in the TV sitcom "3rd Rock From the Sun." But this performance is something else. It's unforgettable.
  12. 80
    So refreshingly straightforward that at first you may not know what to make of it.
  13. Frank's dialogue owes a little something to Elmore Leonard, but it's less comic and heavily brocaded.
  14. More of a leisurely paced ensemble character-study than the slam-bang traditional action gut-buster that its trailer seems to promise.
  15. Though The Lookout is eventually a genre film, with a tense, bang-up ending, it is also a thoughtful study of a young man trying to make sense of a world that he is having to learn all over again.
  16. A solidly above-average thriller.
  17. Reviewed by: Ty Burr
    Promises minor pleasures and delivers them. In the process, it's gracious enough to kick in a few extras: a nifty central gimmick, a self-effacing lead performance, and a big slice of ham from supporting actor Jeff Daniels .
  18. Coolly crafted crime thriller.
  19. Reviewed by: Staff (Not Credited)
    A smart, engrossing thriller in which you care as much about the characters as the crime.
  20. A sensitive coping drama after all, while still serving up that noirish heist flick with comic flourishes. That's some range, and in 99 succinct minutes too: Most pictures would be lucky to do half as much in twice the time.
  21. Reviewed by: Glenn Kenny
    With his directorial debut, screenwriting stalwart Scott Frank concocts a compelling variation on a reliable film noir convention.
  22. Exactly the right length. That sounds like faint praise, but isn't it rare? Many movies drag past the points where they should stop; others end abruptly, leaving you to wonder at things unexplained or unconcluded.
  23. Reviewed by: Matt Zoller Seitz
    Mr. Frank’s screenplay for The Lookout was long considered one of Hollywood's great unproduced scripts. The end product doesn't justify that buildup...Still, there's a lot to like here, and the film's bleak setting and empathetic tone add interest to what could have been a by-the-numbers affair.
  24. Reviewed by: Josh Rosenblatt
    The Lookout marks Frank's directorial debut after years of working as a screenwriter on movies like "Get Shorty" and "Out of Sight," and though his new movie may lack the sexual tension and bubbly wit that elevated those films to rarefied heights, there's a newfound, and not unwelcome, sobriety to his writing.
  25. 67
    The way Frank structures and directs this film, it's too predictably "unpredictable."
  26. 63
    The movie's anti-climatic resolution in concert with the holes left by the occasionally untidy script result in The Lookout not living up to its promise. Compared to some of Frank's past projects, this is a tepid offering.
  27. Reviewed by: Bob Strauss
    The Lookout boasts some very interesting, original performances. They make this noirish, bank-heist caper intriguing, but in some ways they actually work against making it believable.
  28. 60
    The dour, downbeat story eventually spirals into grisly Grand Guignol and contrivance. Still, Gordon-Levitt is superb, and Jeff Daniels delivers a wry and wily performance as Pratt's blind roommate.
  29. Reviewed by: Mark Bell
    It is worthy of your time, simply because of the brilliant acting and the first and final acts but... the middle of the film feels like an endurance challenge.
  30. Reviewed by: Alan Morrison
    Plot holes and a mixed tone lessen the impact but Gordon-Levitt holds it together with a strong lead performance.
  31. A thriller that wheezes along on bits and pieces of ''character.''
  32. 50
    Sleekly tooled but eminently forgettable thriller.
  33. 50
    Combines the sweet strangeness of "Fargo" with the existential panic of "Memento" and some Elmore Leonard tough talk. It all creates a cinematic tummy ache.
User Score

Universal acclaim- based on 109 Ratings

User score distribution:
  1. Positive: 25 out of 28
  2. Negative: 2 out of 28
  1. Shsch
    May 1, 2007
    I think a lot of the reviews here miss the point. This is not really an action heist movie although there is both action and a heist. Rather I think a lot of the reviews here miss the point. This is not really an action heist movie although there is both action and a heist. Rather this is a character study of Chris Pratt who has to cope with the limitations of his life after suffering severe brain damage as a result of a car accident which he stupidly causes. I was intrigued by the ways he attempts to regain normalcy such as the ability to sequence events and relate to others in a personal way. I think the gradual manner in which the plot reveals the important things you need to know about Chris's pre-accident life, and especially his family, was very effective in holding the viewer's interest. I also thought Isla Fisher was quite sexy and very effective as bait for Chris's attraction to his "new-found friends." I would highly recommend this film. I think you too will be drawn into the movie and hope that its main character Chris will somehow be able to conquer his limits. Full Review »
  2. Dec 31, 2014
    The Lookout is certainly a very interesting film. Directed and written by Scott Frank as his directorial debut after a successful career as aThe Lookout is certainly a very interesting film. Directed and written by Scott Frank as his directorial debut after a successful career as a screenwriter beforehand, this one is certainly very well written and he certainly directs it very well. The story is told nicely and it is fun to see everything all come together after being set up. Certainly a very emotional film, The Lookout benefits greatly from strong acting performances by Joseph Gordon-Levitt, Jeff Daniels, and Matthew Goode. Also, Isla Fisher's beauty is another major strength of this one, haha. The plot and backstory of Gordon-Levitt's character is touching and very interesting, really hooks you right into the film as you want to see how everything plays out. However, in spite of the film's best attempts to avoid being a run-of-the-mill heist thriller, this one does wind up being that in a way even with the interesting back story and twists to the typical elements of the genre. Ultimately, this one is a very enjoyable film that is just extraordinary in any way, which is not necessarily a bad thing, but does prevent it from being rated higher. Full Review »
  3. Feb 12, 2014
    A Solid and at times exceptional film. The performances, particularly Jeff Daniels' as Levitt's constantly captivating blind friend, are allA Solid and at times exceptional film. The performances, particularly Jeff Daniels' as Levitt's constantly captivating blind friend, are all very good - accompanied by some unique and well-executed writing.
    While I totally enjoyed the film, small detractors include (without spoiling) certain plot elements that lack sufficient explanation or elaboration as well as characters with overly murky motives.
    Of course, intentionally withheld information or deliberately raised questions is often desirable - but it's hard to shake the feeling when such gaps in the story give off more of a sense of laziness rather than method or intention.
    Aside from this occasional lack of coherence, the film itself is quite worthwhile - providing a small-scale but captivating character-focused drama.
    Full Review »