Jack Foley is a very successful criminal who has robbed more than 200 banks without ever using a gun. Still, he lacked luck a few times and spent his share of time in jail. As the story begins, he’s sent once again inside. But this time, Foley’s decided to escape, with the help of Buddy, the partner he trusts the most. The operation goes pretty well, until an unexpected visitor steps in: Karen Sisco, a tough yet sexy federal marshal who happened to drive by the prison when the break-out took place. Foley doesn’t lose time and kidnaps her before she can do her job. And that’s when the fun begins, as the con and the cop grow more and more attracted towards one another. but this ain’t your simple little romance, since Karen is charged to find and arrest Foley. Jack plans to make one last big score before retiring. With the help of Buddy and a few guys he once jailed with, he wants to rob Dick, another ex-con who happens to be millionaire.
Of course, all this is just a glimpse of the film. It’s based on a book of the great crime novelist Elmore Leonard, who also wrote “Get Shorty” and “Rum Punch” (which became “Jackie Brown”). This new adaptation is also pure Leonard. You’ve got the gallery of odd characters, the colorful dialogue, the unHollywoodized romance, the quirky twists and the big score around which everything revolves. Scott Frank, who also wrote the screenplay for “Get Shorty”, captures very well the feel of Leonard’s writing. I loved how he has the film cutting back and forth in time, giving the picture cool unchronological storytelling. That’s something that is usually seen only in books, though Tarantino also uses this technique. “Out of Sight” is an involving caper filled with great moments and fun players, and it’s also wonderfully directed by indie filmmaker Steve Soderbergh, best known for “sex, lies and videotape”. His visual style is original, and the film is tightly crafted. You feel that the guy knows what he’s doing. I also dug the way he scored his film with funky music.
The cast is just unbelievable. George Clooney stars as Foley, and he delivers a cool and natural performance. Jennifer Lopez plays his romantic opposite, and they have great chemistry together. Lopez is pretty good, but she’s almost always outperformed by her co-stars. I gotta say that the competition is fierce. Her father is played by Dennis Farina, and her part-time boyfriend is “Jackie Brown”‘s ATF agent Ray Nicolet, once again played with gusto by Michael Keaton. Even Clooney is sometimes eclipsed by his partners in crime. There’s Ving Rhames, as the cynical yet repentant Buddy, Steve Zahn as a dopey dude who never takes off his sunglasses, and Don Cheadle as Snoop, a black wannabe boxer. And what about Snoop’s clumsy white goon! There’s also a cool cameo from none other than Sam Jackson. This great cast, Soderbergh’s dynamic direction and Leonard’s signature style make this one raw, fun and smart caper.