The Lookout: a brain-damaged guy gets taken advantage of because of his part-time job in a bank. Not just any bank though, the lamest bank in history with huge windows, a remote location and high-risk employees! The natural dialogue made everyone seem quite normal and believable, with the exception of ‘Bone’, who looked like a tardy Agent Smith from the Matrix. Both Levitt and Daniels do a fairly decent job with their difficult characters. The Vigilante memory loss section at the end is when the film really kicks in to gear (like a ‘Diet Memento’) but was too little too late for me, and the action scenes aren’t well-edited. It’s an OK film but with lots of dubious aspects: like how despite causing a fatal car crash, and having brain damage, Chris Pratt is allowed to drive!? The only thing the film really taught me was that money is power… pretty deep stuff.
The Three Burials of Melquiades Estrada: a modern western that’s divided between the ways of the old Wild West and the attitudes towards immigration in present America. It’s an outstanding directorial debut by Tommy Lee Jones, who also put in a fine performance: this was probably the biggest factor for his casting in No Country For Old Men. Barry Pepper’s personal journey is also powerful and believable, shame he’s never grabbed a decent leading man part. Although it’s quite slow, the story is so simple and powerful that it draws you in completely, and as the film goes on it all comes together quite nicely. The scenery on offer is magnificent, taking you from a tiny town in West Texas over the border, deserts and down to a Mexican paradise. It’s also got some of the driest humour you’ll find, with the highlight being a corpse comedy side story – morbidly dark but bizarrely funny. Simple and well executed story but the no-frills approach won’t be for everyone.
Run Lola Run: a stunning red head must find 100,000 Marks within 20 minutes to save her boyfriend. Despite this movie being almost all action you really get to know the two mains, thanks to them nailing their characters in what little screen time they have. The biggest feature for me was the music; pounding German dance tracks that emphasise the urgency and get you totally pumped up, especially through the first 15 minutes. Paying attention to every detail shows how neat and well-planned the film is, but doesn’t necessarily to add enjoyment – just a nice touch. It also has a themes of fate, coincidence and the butterfly effect, but again, they’re just there, and you don’t have to analyse them. It’s a very original idea, executed brilliantly and remains stylish throughout – all the scenes with Lola / Manni are striking in one way or another. With the dominant music, stunning visuals and a simple story it’s like a long music video, yet it never wears thin or peters out. A great example of film-making and essential viewing.