Chris Pratt (a getting better with each role, Joseph Gordon- Levitt) was a golden boy: a high school Hockey star, an entitled child of wealthy parents. And then one night he decides, with 3 other friends, to seek out a shower of fire flies on an empty Kansan highway when tragedy strikes and he is rendered impaired both mentally and physically. His life is now more about "sequencing": ordering his life in such a way so as to recall what he needs to do on a daily basis in order to survive. Chris's golden sheen is tarnished, dented and made worse by the fact that, though his memory is spotty, he unfortunately can recall the high points of his young life: winning the hockey championship, cruising the highway in his convertible Mustang with his beautiful girlfriend, Kelly who survives the accident and appears every so often as a touchstone plunging Chris back to that fateful evening under a clear, Kansan night sky.
Chris works as a night janitor at a bank and it is this job that brings him in contact with some crooks (mainly an amazing, deadly Matthew Goode, heretofore known as eye candy in Mandy Moore movies...as Gary Spargo) who take advantage of Chris' impairments in order to rob the bank: "Whoever has the money, has the power," Gary intones and this mantra will echo throughout the film.
Director/Screenwriter ("Out of Sight") Scott Frank audaciously centers the "action" on the who's/the why's and the where fore's of Chris' search for his basic morality: he's not the man he was before, this much is clear, this much is unassailable. So who is Chris now and more to the point how will he allow the accident to dictate his future: will he let it swallow up all that is good and humane in him...or will he not?
"The Lookout" is an effective, nail-biting at times, little thriller filled with the minutiae of lives well observed particularly that of Gordon-Levitt's masterful Chris: behind a veil made from the opaque cloth of befuddlement and embarrassment, he manages to project vulnerability and the injured remains of an ego he can only periodically recall.