Title: Out of Sight (1998)
Director: Steven Soderbergh
Stars: George Clooney, Jennifer Lopez, Ving Rhames and Don Cheadle
The plot follows a bank robber named Jack Foley (Clooney), who is imprisoned after a failed bank robbery. We discover through flashback that he was attempting to escape, but his car stalled and he was captured as a consequence. While in prison (another time) he learns from a fellow prisoner that one of the other inmates has uncut diamonds at his residence in Detroit. Foley escapes jail with the help of his best friend Buddy (Rhames), and together they seek to find the diamonds and strike it rich. However, upon their escape they take an F.B.I agent (J-Lo) hostage, who falls in love with Jack during the famous boot/trunk scene. Karen must then decide whether to speak now or forever hold her peace.
The cast in this film is massive and hugely impressive. George Clooney, in one of his earliest star-making roles, is superb as the funny and hugely charismatic bank-robber. This is definitely one of his greatest performances, if not the best. J-Lo is perfectly adequate in her role, which proves that non actors/part-timers can function just as well as everyone else. She is believable in her role and has rich chemistry with Mr.Clooney. Don Cheadle is fantastic as boxer/gangster Snoopy Miller, who stands between Foley and his fortune. Albert Brooks is hilarious as Richard Ripley, who is the owner of the diamonds. He is most famous for his role in Taxi Driver and for voicing Hank Scorpio in that classic Simpsons episode. The amazing cast also encompasses Michael Keaton, Luiz Guzman (beardless!), Denis Farina, Isaiah Washington and Catherine Keener. There is also an epic cameo from Samuel L. Jackson in the final scene, as Hejira Henry, an accomplished escape artist.
Like Soderbergh’s other films, Out of Sight is filmed in varying styles. The scenes that take place in the warmer climbs of Miami are very bright and vibrant. By contrast the scenes in colder conditions (Detroit) are filmed in a moody blue style, which sets the theme rather nicely. This creates a nice distinction and serves to help the viewer. This use of different colours was shown to greater effect in Soderbergh’s multi Oscar winning hit Traffic (2000).
Out of Sight really has it all – a magical, diverse cast, with very strong female characters, humour, action, great visuals and two leads with more chemistry than a science lab. The screenplay is perhaps its greatest feature, which was based upon a story by Elmore Leonard, who also wrote Rum Punch, which became Jackie Brown, once Tarantino had his way with it. The screenplay was rightly nominated for Best Adapted Screenplay at the Oscars, failing to win in that category. If you want to see a unique and cool film that performs on every level, go check this one out.