Out of Sight
was one of the best movies of 1998 but ironically this superior crime comedy was a box-office disappointment. Fortunately the movie can enjoy a long life on home video and DVD, where it can be savoured by anyone who missed its original release. Making one of his strongest films since his 1989 debut Sex, Lies, and Videotape
and his recent hit Erin Brockovich
, director Steven Soderbergh pays tribute to the signature wit and intricacy of Elmore Leonard's novel, brilliantly adapted by Scott Frank, the gifted screenwriter who previously adapted Leonard's Get Shorty
. The movie is primarily a showcase for the talent and chemistry of George Clooney and Jennifer Lopez, respectively playing a career bank robber who has escaped from jail and the federal agent who falls for his charms while tracking him down. Soderbergh directs with confident visual flair, shifting timelines (à la Pulp Fiction
) to weave together subplots and maintain vivid focus on Leonard's splendid characters and smooth-as-silk dialogue. While the sexy repartée between Clooney and Lopez recalls the vintage interplay of Humphrey Bogart and Lauren Bacall, Ving Rhames and Steve Zahn add ample comic relief as Clooney's accomplices. Dennis Farina is memorable as Lopez's father and Albert Brooks is almost unrecognisable as a Wall Street crook whose mansion--and a cache of uncut diamonds--provides the setting for the film's climactic caper. As orchestrated by Soderbergh, the film offers a feast of plot twists and surprises but it never loses track of its delightful characters and the clever wit that brings them so vividly to life. --Jeff Shannon
Big screen adaptation of the Elmore Leonard crime novel. Bank robber Jack Foley (George Clooney) is forced to kidnap federal agent Karen Sisco (Jennifer Lopez) while breaking out of prison. The two feel a strong sexual attraction for each other, but Karen still takes the opportunity to escape when it arises. Jack teams up with his old partner, Buddy (Ving Rhames), and they plan one last job together in Detroit. Intending to rob the mansion of millionaire Richard Ripley (Albert Brooks), the duo still have Karen on their tail, and also face competition from ex-con Glenn Michaels (Steve Zahn) and the psychopathic Maurice 'Snoopy' Miller (Don Cheadle).