; 400x60

click here to see our uploads list
click for new
Film Reviews, Festivale movie section, a reel life
click here for current front page

Festivale online magazine, October issue
Out of Sight movie review
Out of Sight

Elmore Leonard novels have made some great material for films, and great films they have been. The best thing about this writer is that he constantly surprises his audience, unraveling hidden talents in his writing which exceed most expectations set by less witty writers.

Just when we thought he could only create only intriguing character (in Get Shorty), he introduced a wide spectrum of appealing characters in Jackie Brown. And just when it appeared as if a punchy romance was not included in the package, Out of Sight poses a dynamic sexual chemistry between its two protagonists.

Movie Poster, Out of Sight, Festivale movie review; outofsight3.jpg - 24594 Bytes

Amazon.com logo
Search for:
UK's largest videos store
In Association with Amazon.co.uk
Search For:
The screenplay, adapted by Scott Frank (who also did Get Shorty), revolves around Jack Foley (George Clooney), a 40-year-old bank robber who charms his victims into co-operating. In a failed getaway, Foley faces 30 years of jail time and plots to break out of prison, with the assistance of his best friend Buddy (Ving Rhames, from Mission: Impossible and Pulp Fiction). Foxy Federal Marshal Karen Sisco (Jennifer Lopez) gets stuck in the middle of a break out attempt, and ends up sharing time in a car boot with Foley. Foley ponders over what would have been had they met under different circumstances, but Karen seems reluctant to reveal her true feelings. Both fall in love, aware of the impossibility of their relationship. Meanwhile, Foley and Buddy plan to rip off a former inmate, the billionaire Richard Ripley (Albert Brooks), who has a stash of uncut diamonds hidden somewhere in his mansion.

The casting of George Clooney was ingenious. He oozes charisma and sincerity, but is careful not to let his character reduce to pulp. Out of Sight is one of Clooney's few good movies and his best role choice; putting on the black cape in Batman and Robin was a pretty stupid mistake, but not after making a couple of others with One Fine Day and The Peacemaker. It's good to see that George has found stable cinematic ground with this film, and hopefully he will be able to keep it up with his next picture The Thin Red Line, an adaptation of James Jones' autobiographical 1962 novel, focusing on the conflict at Guadalcanal during the second World War. Jennifer Lopez is also terrific in this film, looking irresistible as the foxy Federal Marshall. She plays her part by the book and with little originality, but she is strong, and her character is written so well that Lopez's performance seems better than it actually is. Together, Clooney and Lopez create some of Out of Sight's most memorable scenes, including the previously mentioned, and very dialogue rich, scene in a boot of a car and an explosive sexual encounter (without showcasing any sex at all).

Somehow, even amongst all of Elmore Leonard's slick criminals and stylish dialogue, I am still not sure of how far he could take his writing. Even though Jackie Brown has been one of this year's best films and Get Shorty was an extraordinary and enjoyable piece, no films of yet have been able to fully capture the spirit of Leonard's writing.

Jackie Brown has probably come the closest, perhaps due to its direction by Quentin Tarantino, a man who is equally as stylish and eccentric. If you take into account all that director Steven Soderbergh (sex, lies and videotape) has included in Out of Sight, there's a whole lot that he has missed out on. The absence of interesting bad guys, for example, since all the ones in this film are idiots (illustrated in one scene when they all shoot at a safe and bullets rebound everywhere, just for the maid to give them the combination without them even asking, and then discovering that the safe contains hair wigs).

The screenplay is interesting because it unfolds a straight forward narrative in a complex way, with flash backs and flash forwards, and repeated scenes, so later the audience can breathe a sigh of relief and say, "oh, that's what happened." Scott Frank seems desperate to throw in as much of Leonard's writing as he possibly can, and as a consequence some scenes are drawn out way too long, and a few are slightly too short. The punchy romance is often pushed aside, and less interesting characters (primarily the bad guys) are given too much screen time.

For all its faults, Out of Sight still remains a well-written piece with witty black comedy, punchy dialogue and amazingly effective sexual chemistry. There are also a couple of amusing cameos from Michael Keaton and Samuel L. Jackson thrown in for good measure. Now it's just a matter of waiting to see what Elmore Leonard comes up with next.

Click here to buy films from one of the online stores in Festivale's on-line shopping mall From 0 stars (bomb), to 5 stars (a masterpiece): 3 and half stars
Luke Buckmaster

Due for Australian release October, 1998

See also: Ali's review
For credits and official site details, click here.
Search Festivale for more

Bookmark and Share

Like us on facebook

Send your comments or review
Check out what's happening in Reel Life

Enter movie, TV show, or person
Provided by Internet Movie Database.
Just the facts:

Title: Out of Sight (1998)
Written by: screenplay by Scott Frank; novel by Elmore Leonard  
Directed by: Steven Soderbergh  
Produced by: Danny DeVito; John Hardy (executive); Michael Shamberg; Stacey Sher; Barry Sonnenfeld (executive)
Edited by: Anne V. Coates  
Director of Photography: Elliot Davis  

The Players: George Clooney .... Jack Foley
Jennifer Lopez .... Karen Sisco
Ving Rhames .... Buddy Bragg
Dennis Farina .... Marshall Sisco
Don Cheadle .... Maurice 'Snoopy' Miller
Albert Brooks .... Richard Ripley
Official website
For session times of current films, use the cinema listings on the Movie links page. For scheduled release dates, see the coming attractions section.
Bookmark and Share

Like us on facebook

A Reel Life, the Festivale film sectionMovie Reviews IndexClick here to go to our links to movie sitesContact us at Festivale
Movie images, sounds, and video clips are solely owned by their respective companies.
No other uses are permitted without the prior written consent of owner.
Use of the material in violation of the foregoing may result in civil and/or criminal penalties.


Festivale Online Magazine
Celebrate everything!

ISSN 1328-8008
Published in Melbourne, Victoria, Australia
disclaimers | contact the editor | Festivale revision history

: Published in Melbourne, Victoria, Australia : copyright © Festivale 1998 All rights reserved
Filed: Jun-1998 : Last updated: : Last tested: 3-Jul-2014: Last Compiled: 3-Jul-2014
Entire site refreshed: Dec 2008-Feb 2009 | Site URL transferred: Jan 2005 (previously www.festivale.webcentral.com.au)

Report a bug

Movies by month, coming attractions, Australian movie release datesIndex of movie reviewscontents of current FestivaleA Reel Life movie section