OUT OF SIGHT
THUMBS UP FILM REVIEW RATING (4 out of 5 Rating)!
Films about crime capers and charismatic cons are often an attractive lure for directors, but too often they lack style, visual appeal, and intelligence. Director Steven Soderbergh's Out of Sight is not lacking in any area mentioned above and even manages to be charming and funny at the same time. It may not be the best film of the genre, but this is a film that makes a fine attempt and creates entertainment above the norm.
Jack Foley (George Clooney, GOOD NIGHT AND GOOD LUCK), a middle-aged bank robber intent upon avoiding old age in a penitentiary, executes a daring plan to escape with the help of his partner in crime Buddy Bragg (Ving Rhames). The plan is complicated when Federal Marshall Karen Sisco (Jennifer Lopez) stumbles upon the two criminals and is taken hostage attempting to foil the jail break. During the escape, Foley and Sisco find themselves inexplicably attracted to each other, but Sisco gets away and Foley is intent upon meeting her again. On the run and planning a robbery that will make him rich, Foley tries to find a way to make the score and gain the woman he is now in love with; the very woman hunting him down.
While a premise like Out of Sight may require a bit of faith to swallow, the film manages to grab the audience with charming characters, smart laughs, and some visual style. Soderbergh relies upon a groovy retro soundtrack that helps move the movie along with his now trademark editing and well placed sequences. The film benefits greatly from these creative verves and enhances the subplots with fine character actors including Dennis Farina as Sisco's father, Catherine Keener as Foley's old flame Adele, Don Cheadle as ex-boxer turned killer Maurice, and Steve Zahn as witless screw up Glenn.
The script is another treasure in Out of Sight. Featuring a fractured narrative and ample use of flashbacks, the script maintains pace and flow while equally providing insight and laughs. It's a fun method for managing scenes and the film even allows the love story between Foley and Sisco to develop quickly on screen without feeling artificial. Naturally, Clooney's subtle performance and charisma help sell his role as hapless-but-heartfelt Jack Foley, but it is Lopez who surprises most, turning in a performance as Karen Sisco that is sexy, strong, and intelligent (a notable performance that even spawned a short-lived television series based on the character starring Carla Gugino). The on-screen chemistry between the two leads is sizzling hot, which makes their romance entertaining and honest.
This is the first outing for Clooney and Soderbergh in what becomes a staple for the duo in years to come. Largely, the film succeeds with the talents of both lead Clooney and Director Soderbergh, but also owes a lot to screenwriter Scott Frank. Yet the film still slows at moments and at 123 minutes, even the sharp editing and smooth transitions can't sustain the pace. In the third act events take a while to get moving and we can feel the film stagger. But with a little patience, the finale is worth it, done in true Soderbergh style; a little dour at first, but a touch of hope and a smile makes a solid finish (and an unexpected cameo by Samuel L. Jackson, SNAKES ON A PLANE).
Equal parts stylish crime flick and delightful romantic comedy, Out of Sight is a little long but worth the wait.