I saw a terrific noir-ish movie this weekend. The Lookout is written and directed by Scott Frank (who also wrote the script for Get Shorty and Out of Sight). The film is smart, dark, witty, fast-paced and generally surprising, with excellent acting from the entire cast. And at 99 minutes it sped by. I wish more movies ‘cut to the chase’.
The reason I went? Johanna Schneller (subscription required), one of the Toronto’s more original film columnists, gave it a strong recommendation, highlighting the acting and noting that the project was passed around Hollywood for a number of years as the best script that no one wanted to produce.
So I found out where it was playing and went to a 9:20 show. I expected the theatre to be crowded, assuming that a bunch of people would have read the Globe and Mail, but there were no more than 25 patrons there (out of a city of nearly five million).
And it occurred to me that it wasn’t too long ago when a critic raved about or pointed you to an off-the-beaten-track movie, you rushed out to see it. And if you liked it, you talked about it and there was a real buzz (when that term was used ononmatopoetically – since 9th grade, I’ve loved that word).
And if you were doing PR for that indie film (like I used to do) and this happened, you knew you had done your job. You encouraged a reviewer to see a film, they liked it, wrote about it and the audience came. That’s what good publicity was all about.
But it looks like things have changed. Match me, Sidney.