Out of Sight

Steven Soderbergh, USA 1998, 123 mins

In the past few years Elmore Leonard books have been the basis of some excellent Hollywood films - Get Shorty, Jackie Brown and this excellent offering. By far the best of the three, Out of Sight shows that Hollywood has at last found out how to properly adapt these books. The movie opens with a failed bank heist, which lands Jack Foley (Clooney) in prison. Determined not to grow old and die in jail he escapes and kidnaps federal marshall Karen Sisko (Lopez) and starts a love/hate chase across the country with sexual tension running high throughout. Foley and fellow escapee Buddy (Ving Rhames) are out to commit one last robbery - this time the target is $5 million in uncut diamonds owned by a fellow convict, the contemptible Ripley (Albert Brooks) - hindered and helped by some other ex-cons with a grudge against Ripley. Soon Sisko is on the trail of all of them.

While earlier Leonard adaptations had certain problems, this one is nearly flawless. Where Tarantino's Jackie Brown seemed bogged down by excessive reverence for the source material and Sonnenfeld's Get Shorty tried far too hard to be funny, Out of Sight manages to take the best of the novel (not losing the typically quirky Leonard subplots) and run with it. The flashback structure Tarantino employed to such effect in Reservoir Dogs is used again here with effortless flair, building on career-best performances from leads George Clooney and Jennifer Lopez. Their scenes - particularly the trunk and seduction scenes - give us a combination of fantastic direction and acting, oozing sexiness.

This is definitely a film of the 90s - stylishly filmed with a great soundtrack and an equally good script, full of excellent one liners. A cool and sensual thriller, Out of Sight is a pleasure to watch - and not just because of the leads!

Review by Karl Byrne
Taken from EUFS Programe Autumn 1999