Posted by: ckckred | June 24, 2014

Out of Sight

out-of-sight

In the opening scene of Out of Sight, George Clooney, playing Jack Foley, walks into a bank. After some quiet banter with a teller, he says to her that the man sitting from a desk across from her has a gun and unless she gives Foley everything in her drawer. Only until Jack talks to the man about the teller do we realize that the hold-up was a ruse.

It’s a tense scene with a clever pay-off that sets up the comedic tone of Out of Sight. Directed by Steven Steven Soderbergh and based off of Elmore Leonard’s novel (other adaptations of Leonard’s work include Quentin Tarantino’s Jackie Brown), Out of Sight is a comic crime caper with a sharp attitude. Unlike many other filmgoers, I’ve never been too fond of Soderbergh’s work, mostly because I dislike his consistent use of celebrity cameos (done notoriously in the phoned-in Ocean’s trilogy), but Out of Sight is more in-line with the director’s earlier work. Soderbergh uses his cast and plot not for some conventional and generic studio picture but a cutting-edge thriller.

Shortly after his robbery, Foley is caught and sent to prison but manages to escape with help from his partner Buddy (Ving Rhames). Afterwards, both Jack and Buddy plan to steal uncut diamonds from a Wall Street tycoon they met in jail, though they find themselves competing with Snoopy (Don Cheadle), a sly and dangerous boxer, and Glenn (Steve Zahn), a dimwitted prison-mate of Foley’s, not to mention they’re being chased down by Karen Sisco (Jennifer Lopez), a federal marshal intent on catching Jack.

The main inspiration for Out of Sight is undeniably from the 70s-style action thrillers. Soderbergh’s quick cutting as well as his frequent use of freeze frames, certainly calls upon the cop movies of the decade, reminding me of The New Centurions. In particular George Clooney’s protagonist is a fine example of an anti-hero, a Steve McQueen-Martin Sheen-esque role. Clooney does an excellent job in his brash performance and has strong chemistry with Jennifer Lopez, an actress I have never particularly enjoyed previously but succeeds as well.

Out of Sight is not an emotional movie but it doesn’t need to be. Like Quentin Tarantino, Stephen Soderbergh prefers style to substance but in the case of both directors, the style’s what drives the picture. Out of Sight’s job is to provide thrills and entertain viewers and it exceeds its purpose; it’s a purely enjoyable movie that moves from one energetic scene from another.

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Responses

  1. Out of Sight runs a close race with The Limey as my favorite Soderbergh film. I love this film despite the fact I am not a Jennifer Lopez fan in the least.

    • I dislike Lopez as well and I thought she was really good in this movie. I think I’d say this is my favorite Soderbergh film.

      • Great minds think alike. :D

  2. Steven Soderbergh is brilliant at getting good performances from his cast. If he can get a good performance from a porn star I don’t see why he can’t get one from Lopez. Great review

    • I may not be Soderbergh’s biggest fan but he does get good performances. I dislike Lopez’s work but she does great here.

  3. One of the sexiest movies ever made. George Clooney and Jennifer Lopez have incredible chemistry together.

    • Clooney and Lopez do work very well, even though I’m not a fan of the latter.

  4. Likely the best film adaptation of an Elmore Leonard novel. Really an elevating film for Clooney and Lopez (despite what she personally thinks of the production). Fine review of a Soderbergh classic.

    • Thanks! The only other Leonard novel I’ve seen on screen is Jackie Brown and I prefer this of the two.

      • Agreed. This seems closer to Leonard’s story and essence.

  5. My favorite Soderbergh film by far. It’s also quite romantic too, if you think about it. However, it all flows together so perfectly. Good review.

    • Thanks! I’d say this would be my favorite of his as well.

  6. A fine, fine piece of work this. A great, effortlessly cool movie. It’s hard not to have a man crush on Clooney. As for Lopez…

    • I agree, a great movie indeed. Clooney does do well here as does Lopez.

  7. I’ve been meaning to see Out of Sight for quite a while. Big Soderbergh fan here, and although I’d like to explore some of his independent films (specifically sex, lies, and videotape, Bubble, The Girlfriend Experience, and Che – Parts 1 and 2), Out of Sight is one of his most well known Hollywood movies that I still haven’t seen.

    • I prefer Soderbergh’s earlier films more than his later ones, but this is probably my favorite film of his. Really entertaining stuff.

  8. Glad you dug this one, CK. I still need to dig into Soderbergh’s early work, but this is my favorite I have seen from him so far. Loved Don Cheadle’s performance in this, too.

    • Thanks! I do like Soderbergh’s early work better than his later stuff (I’d recommend sex, lies, and videotape if you haven’t seen it). Don Cheadle’s really good, it actually took me a while to recognize him.

  9. i’d like to see this again. Good review. Lopez was super hot.


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