The Lookout 

Reviewers' grade: A-

Film noir heroes tend to be damaged goods, but even by those dour standards, Chris Pratt, the protagonist of "The Lookout," is more damaged than most. Once a popular high school jock, Chris has suffered a head injury that leaves him barely able to execute the most innocuous tasks. Haunted by the past and bewildered by the present, Chris (Joseph Gordon-Levitt) is tailor-made for the noir universe. Luckily, he's the creation of Scott Frank, the acclaimed screenwriter behind "Out of Sight" and "Minority Report." Debuting as director, Frank crafts a taut thriller filled with characters at once familiar and unique. When Chris falls under the influence of a small-time thug (Matthew Goode) who heads a gang of bank robbers, you think you know where things are headed, but "The Lookout" percolates with richly drawn characters and a smattering of surprises. Gordon-Levitt and Goode are terrific, but Jeff Daniels comes close to stealing the show as Chris' acerbic blind roommate. Rated R.

"?Phil Bacharach  

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