Saturday, December 1, 2012

Out of Sight

Directed by
Steven Soderberg
Written by Scott Frank from a novel by Elmore Leonard
Starring George Clooney, Jennifer Lopez, Ving Rhames, Don Cheadle,
Albert Brooks, Dennis Farina
IMDB Entry

Elmore Leonard was a major success as a writer, but it took a long time for him to catch on in Hollywood.  But by the mid-80s and 90s, directors were taking his work and coming up with successful films like 52 Pickup, Get Shorty, and Jackie BrownAnd in 1998, director Steven Soderberg took on his book Out of Sight.

Leonard was great at creating quirky and memorable characters, and there are plenty of them in the film.  Jack Foley (George Clooney) is a small-time bank robber who finds himself in jail when he can't get his getaway car started.  He manages an escape with the help of his friend Buddy Bragg (Ving Rhames).  Unfortunately, Karen Sisco (Jennifer Lopez), a Federal agent with a love of guns, stumbled upon the escape.  Buddy stashes her and Jack in the trunk of his car to make an escape.

An oddball romance ensues.  Sisco is, after all, a cop, and doesn't forget her job is to bring Jack in.  But she is conflicted, so when Jack goes out on "one last job" -- to rob businessman Richard Ripley (Albert Brooks) of some diamonds, she tails along.  Is she going along, or is she playing him?  And what about Maurice Miller (Don Cheadle), a vicious criminal who is also out for the diamonds?

Clooney is unsurpassed in his generation as playing the light romantic lead* and his ability to be charming and funny makes him perfect for the role.  Jennifer Lopez is usually not thought of as a great actress, but she is fine here and the chemistry with Clooney is spectacular.  Don Cheadle is always great when playing a psychotic criminal, and Albert Brooks, Ving Rhames, Dennis Farina (as Karen's father), and an uncredited Michael Keaton** all make for a solid and entertaining film.

*Only Cary Grant was better.
*Playing the same part, Ray Nicorette, that he played in Jackie Brown, thereby making him one of a small group of actors who played the same characters in more than one non-sequel films.  Others include Akim Tamirof and Brian Donlevy (The Great McGinty and The Miracle of Morgan's Creek), Margaret Rutherford (playing a cameo of Miss Marple in The Alphabet Murders), Don Ameche and Ralph Belaman (Trading Places and Coming to America), and James Cagney (Yankee Doodle Dandy and The Seven Little Foys).

1 comment:

The Sage of Altadena said...

I don't know if this would count or not -- but Will Jordan, the ultimate Ed Sullivan impersonator, played Ed in The Doors, Mr. Satuday Night, Down with Love, John Carpenter's Elvis, the Buddy Holly Story, and I Want To Hold Your Hand -- none of them sequels to anything!