Sunday, February 1, 2015


(June 1998, U.S.)

In the mid and late 1990s, the novels of the late Elmore Leonard made for some of the best crime comedy entertainment on the big screen, including GET SHORTY (1995), JACKIE BROWN (1997) and OUT OF SIGHT. Like Martin Scorsese and Robert DeNiro (and Leonardo DiCaprio, for that matter), the team of director Steven Soderbergh and George Clooney has proven to hold a successful track with many memorable films. Memorable, at least, in my opinion, because I suspect films like the remake of SOLARIS (2002) and THE GOOD GERMAN (2006) didn't prove too popular with critics and audiences.

As a career bank robber, Clooney fits the role perfectly for Jack Foley, as he effectively maintains an ongoing "anything goes" and "I don't give a shit!" attitude that perfectly sets up the character for the danger and fun that will ensure when he's nearly captured by and appears to be falling for U.S. Marshal Karen Sisco (played by the ever-desirable Jennifer Lopez). As a woman of the law, she ultimately has a job to do, but it would appear she's falling for him, too. I mean, come on, as confident a heterosexual male that I am, even I have to admit that George Clooney is totally charming and irresistible! While Jack is basically a small time crook, he and his right-hand partner Buddy (played by Ving Rhames) have their minds set on stealing a bunch of uncut diamonds hidden in the large home of the crooked businessman (played by Albert Brooks) they once did jail time with. Trouble is, there's competition for those diamonds and the other crooks are not nearly as fun to be with as Jack Foley. They mean dirty business and they'll kill to prove it.

At the heart of its story, as a crime thriller, the crime itself is, admittedly, not all that spectacular. It's a simple robbery that we're not meant to get too excited about. What OUT OF SIGHT offers us under the fine direction of Soderbergh is the interactive, twisted dialogue and fun situations between somewhat ordinary people on both sides of the law. There's also an undeniable fantasy taking place here when we watch Jennifer Lopez in action. Sure, being locked in the trunk of a car with a woman packing a gun would not be all that fun. But if you're locked in the trunk of a car in a snuggling position with the always sexy J.Lo like this...'re not exactly going to complain a whole lot about the bumpy ride or the gun! You see, crime is not just the thrills of the action in process. Crime, under the right direction of creative imagination, is also the fantasy of how you (or the person you're watching) is going to get away with it and who he or she is going take along with them or seduce along the way. It's almost unfortunate that the always politically correct message of crime not paying has to take place here when Jack Foley is finally caught by Karen in the end (shot in the leg) because we've come to really like Jack and his fun-loving intentions of breaking the law and it would be nice to see him and Karen get together. But Karen, being the righteous and gritty law person she is, will finally pursue Jack for justice more than her own romantic interludes. Even with the right final message in play here, OUT OF SIGHT can hardly be considered an important or profound film, and it doesn't try to be. It's all just a wonderful series of very satisfying pleasures of crime, human interactions, love and sex. And seriously, any moment on film where we get to see J.Lo do a little of this... nothing to complain about, even if it's brief! So tell me, is it just her perfectly-sculpted tan body we're all drooling over, or is it the perfect combination of that perfectly-sculpted tan body and the perfect city skyline outside the window behind her with the perfect falling snow in the foreground that makes it all just so damn perfect?? Hell, after a moment like that, from now on I may only have sex while it snows outside (yeah, right!)!

Favorite line or dialogue:

Jack Foley: "I know a guy who walks into a bank with a little glass bottle. He tells everyone it's nitroglycerine. He scores some money off the teller, walks out. On his way out, the bottle breaks, he slips on it and knocks himself out. The "nitro" was Canola oil. I know more fucked-up bank robbers than ones who know what they're doing. I doubt if one in twenty could tell you where the dye pack is. Most bank robbers are fucking morons!"

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