Friday, July 15, 2011

Out Of Sight (1998)

Clooney, Lopez, & Soderbergh
All At Their Best....

- Jack Foley has robbed a lot of banks but he seems to be unable to stay out of jail. Finally fed up with living inside federal penitentiaries, Jack tries to reform himself.... only to fail yet again, getting caught for robbing another bank. Instead of waiting out his sentence and trying to reform himself again – Jack decides to just escape from prison. You just can't deny who you are, right? But when Jack flees Glades Correctional Institute with a number of other inmates, Federal Marshall Karen Sisko gets caught up in his escape. Unexpectedly, romance blooms as the two continue to cross paths with Jack onto a new job and Karen assigned to the task force trying to catch him.

Director Steven Soderbergh constructs Out Of Sight (1998) extremely well. Out Of Sight is a high quality and entertaining film with interesting characters, smart dialogue, and a fantastic visual appearance that remains one of Soderbergh's finest. One thing that Soderbergh can be counted on for delivering is a great visual production and Out Of Sight is no exception. This film has particularly great color schemes – look for all of Soderbergh's clever visual color motifs, as there are a lot of them throughout the film.

The way that the film is edited is particularly noteworthy. With a career that spans seven decades, Anne V. Coates is a Hollywood legend (editing such classic films as Lawrence Of Arabia (1962) and The Elephant Man (1980)) and Out Of Sight is one of her finest works. The fact that Out Of Sight is edited in a way that the narrative is told out of chronological order (not quite like Pulp Fiction (1994) but with a similar idea) makes Out Of Sight an interesting film visually and story-wise.

Out Of Sight has a great cast of characters and performers. As escaped convict and bank robber extraordinaire Jack Foley, Clooney gives one of his most unique and overall best performances of his career. Clooney's well-known suave presence and comedic talents are clearly seen but, still relatively early in his career, Clooney is a bit more boisterous and rough around the edges in a way that serves the character very well.

Jennifer Lopez has never been finer on film as she is under Soderbergh's direction as Karen Sisko in Out Of Sight. Lopez has more duds in her filmography than she deserves, usually getting cast in some kind of lame romantic comedy, but Out Of Sight is a diamond among stones. As Karen Sisko, Lopez is sexy and tough; carefully creating a dimensional and captivating character.

Clooney and Lopez are great in the film – but the story features a wide array of other great characters. Recognizable supporting actors – Ving Rhames, Don Cheadle, Steven Zahn, Albert Brooks, Dennis Farina, Louis Guzman, Catherine Keener – are all excellent as the many colorful characters that are speckled throughout the film.

Nominated for Academy Awards for best adapted screenplay and editing, Out Of Sight is one of the funniest crime romances one could hope to see on film. Interesting, funny, and stylish, Out Of Sight is a top tier film for Clooney, Lopez, and Soderbergh.

CBC Rating: 9/10

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