Elmore Leonard has quickly become one of Hollywood’s favorite authors. Out of four film adaptations in as many years, the witty and inventive Out of Sight gives Get Shorty a run for its money as the best Leonard adaptation around.
George Clooney stars as Jack Foley, a nice bank robber…you know the type, he uses his charm and his wits rather than a gun. But even charming guys end up unlucky, and Jack ends up in jail. But not for long. He plots an escape with the help of his best friend, and fellow robber, Buddy Bragg (Ving Rhames), and their slow-witted pothead associate, Glenn Michaels (Steve Zahn).
But Jack didn’t count on U.S. Marshal Karen Sisco (Jennifer Lopez). Appearing at the right place at the wrong time, Karen gets involved in Foley’s escape attempt and the subsequent manhunt to bring him in. However, Karen develops a rapport with Jack Foley, and finds that she begrudgingly likes the guy. But, can love prosper on opposite sides of the law? Or can Karen straighten out Jack before he goes too far in pursuit of just one last crime.
Clooney, who has had a string of solid, but never stellar, film roles, delivers his best performance to date. He blends into his role here perfectly as the risk taking Jack Foley, who’s willing to gamble everything on the chance that Karen Sisco might be his true love.
Jennifer Lopez does an excellent job as well. She actually has a trickier role than Clooney, as a woman who has to balance her emotions with her sense of duty. She and Clooney develop good chemistry together.
The film boasts a superb ensemble. Steve Zahn gives a hilarious performance, and steals nearly every scene he’s in. Don Cheadle is appropriately sinister as a violent ex-con who may or may not be teaming up with Foley. Albert Brooks is enjoyable as a white collar criminal who talks too much for his own good. Out of the cast, only Dennis Farina seems underused as Karen’s ex-lawman father.
Steven Soderbergh gives the film sharp and stylistic direction. With an affectation for freeze frames, he delivers a unique take on the film’s action and love scenes that places Out of Sight a notch above routine crime films.
A recurring series of flashbacks makes the film seem more complex than it actually is. Devoid of its bells and whistles, Out of Sight is actually a fairly straightforward crime story. However, there are only a few spots in the film that seem bare, and they pass quickly.
With smart dialogue, good characters, and an excellent cast, Out of Sight easily smoothes over the rough spots in the plot and delivers on both the action and romantic fronts.