Out of Sight (1998) from Johnny Web (Uncle Scoopy; Greg Wroblewski)

Is it a good movie? No, it's only about the coolest, hippest motherfucker ever committed to celluloid. Style, performing, and sang-froid to make Pulp Fiction look like a third grade Thanksgiving pageant in a Mormon elementary school.
  • Elmore Leonard story.
  • Directed by Steven Soderbergh, innovatively and beautifully, with a great eye to visuals as well as pacing. Nice to see a director who can use technique and visuals without ignoring the performers and the pace of the film.
  • Featuring Clooney, J-Lo, Ving Rheames, Michael Keaton, Samuel L Jackson, Don Cheadle, Albert Brooks, Dennis Farina, Catherine Keener, and a whole bunch of other cool perfomers who riff the film like a jazz concert. And just about everyone gets a scene to show off his best side.


Jennifer Lopez showed a great deal of cleavage in the expanded full-length version of the trunk ride with Clooney (available on the DVD). Some people think her nipples may have been visible.
It's a caper film where the caper is OK, but the dialogue and character development are so much fun that you don't even care about the plot. And it has a lot of the humor that has often been needed in some of Soderbergh's other films. Some of it is just good natured banter, and some of it is really laugh-out-loud funny.

Clooney is a career bank robber who has spent his entire life in and out of prisons. In his latest prison break, he ends up being driven away from the prison with a female federal officer in the trunk of a car, and they just hit it off on the ride. Something happens between them as man and woman. The rest of the film involves her hunt for him while he tries to pull off a big score, and a brief time-out from the hunt, in which they have a romantic liaison to see "what it might have been like if things were different"

DVD info from Amazon.

  • Widescreen anamorphic, 1.85:1

  • Full-length director commentary

  • "inside" featurette

  • about 20 minutes of deleted scenes

Ultimately Clooney can't escape the fact that he's a crook, and Lopez can't escape from the fact that she's a federal marshall, so we know how it will all work out - or do we? Even after seeing the entire film, I'm still not quite sure how it worked out, because of various hints dropped during Clooney's final trip back to prison.

Soderbergh doesn't tell the tale in pure chronological order, but I like the way he re-arranges it. Like Atom Egoyan, he places the revelations where they have the most impact, not necessarily when the chronology would call for them. I feel this is good for us viewers, not distracting. It adds to our mental involvement, and gives us those moments of "aha!" pleasure.

Look for comic/filmmaker Albert Brooks doing a send-up of financier Michael Millken, Michael Keaton as the world's densest federal agent (he played the same part in Tarantino's Jackie Brown), and director Steven Soderbergh as a bank customer that Clooney uses as a decoy in a robbery.

The Critics Vote

  • General consensus: three and a half stars. Ebert 3.5/4, Berardinelli 3.5/4, Maltin 2.5. What the hell was Maltin thinking about? He was about the only person in the universe who didn't like it.

  • Rotten Tomatoes summary. 90% positive overall, 100% from the top people.

The People Vote ...

  • With their votes ... IMDB summary: IMDb voters score it 7.6, which is on the borderline of the all-time top 250.
  • With their dollars ... a disappointment. Produced at a $48 million budget, with some great reviews, it grossed only $37 million domestically on 2000 screens.
IMDb guideline: 7.5 usually indicates a level of excellence, about like three and a half stars from the critics. 6.0 usually indicates lukewarm watchability, about like two and a half stars from the critics. The fives are generally not worthwhile unless they are really your kind of material, about like two stars from the critics. Films under five are generally awful even if you like that kind of film, equivalent to about one and a half stars from the critics or less, depending on just how far below five the rating is.

My own guideline: A means the movie is so good it will appeal to you even if you hate the genre. B means the movie is not good enough to win you over if you hate the genre, but is good enough to do so if you have an open mind about this type of film. C means it will only appeal to genre addicts, and has no crossover appeal. D means you'll hate it even if you like the genre. E means that you'll hate it even if you love the genre. F means that the film is not only unappealing across-the-board, but technically inept as well.

Based on this description, this film is a B+.

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