Monday, January 28, 2013

Day Twenty-eight - Out of Sight, or "Clooney and his Quiet Cool."

Elmore Leonard novels, when brought to screen by the right people, just exude class... even when they deal with the worst examples of humanity.

Case in point, Jackie Brown (though most folks attribute the groove to Tarentino, I prefer to give Elmore credit for his fine characterization)... and, in this case, Out of Sight. I'd also like to bring up Get Shorty as the exception to the rule, because while the cast would've been stellar, they just never gelled like the other two pieces.

I'm talking about chemistry.

Clooney can pretty much ride his charm in any film he wants, but I was really shocked when it came to Jennifer Lopez. I wasn't too impressed by Anaconda, but Selena proved she could have what it took. With Out of Sight? I actually saw a little real emotion. Not much, mind you... her half-blowup in the hotel bathroom felt forced on her part, though Soderbergh did a good job with cuts and framing to amp the tension... at least, to my eye.

When they're together on screen? Well, I was convinced.

Then there's the supporting cast, which was also awesome.

Ving Rhames is pretty solid in just about any film, so long as you don't ask him to get too crazy... and, even then, it can work (Bringing Out the Dead). Dennis Farina is great as well, cynical yet supportive, the perfect noir father figure to act as a conscience, but not be a buzzkill. Don Cheadle can definitely do bad. I felt the tension even as I was laughing at his character's delusions of grandeur... and it wasn't hard to imagine Steve Zahn as a burnout. He can sell that role pretty easily.

I was a bit disappointed when it came to Michael Keaton. It was a really bit role and I was expecting him to show up at least once more during the denouement, maybe be the second man on the transport with Lopez, but no dice. Also, there wasn't enough of Luis Guzman. I don't know what I was expecting, maybe another flashback scene in the third act... just something... and I was disappointed.

Great cameo for Samuel Jackson, though. I really would've liked to have seen that trip to Florida as its own movie. It fit, though, ending the film there... hinting at the breakout, one last grand romantic gesture on behalf of Lopez.

Plotwise, only two things didn't make sense to me.

First was the dream sequence. It felt out of place to have a fantasy in a film that was otherwise completely grounded. Sure, we have a few flashbacks, but it's a frame story. We gain depth when and as we need it. Having the fantasy bath sequence only served to muddle things and didn't have any call backs. Personally, the only reason I think Soderbergh did it was to get some more skinship between his two leads. Pretty unnecessary when they both of them make metaphorical love just talking about Faye Dunaway movies.

Second was Steve Zahn's exit. Even if he was forced, he still needed a comeuppance for his part in the act two crackhead hit. But maybe that's just me.

Overall, this is a great film. Noirish, good jazz/funk soundtrack, satisfying ending, very few holes. I wish JLo still made films like this. Clooney still does, though his can be a bit preachier since he stopped doing Ocean's sequels.

Until tomorrow, Potatoes~

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