Review: Out Of Sight (1998)

out of sight

If there’s one thing I will never be it is out of anyone’s sight!

Screenplay By: Scott Frank
Directed By: Steven Soderbergh

Cool is a quality in a film that is hard to quantify. It’s just as equally hard to write about or try to explain. Out Of Sight leaves me in a position where I must try to somehow quantify and discuss how cool of a film it is. Hear me out , those who are not fans of such a vague term as cool. Because, cool is the best word to describe this film. From the very beginning of Out Of Sight there is an air of cool about Steven Soderbergh’s film. I was reminded of a slinky 1960s spy film in the way that Out Of Sight plays cat games with its audience. You can’t just show cool to your audience, you have to tease how cool you are and make your audience want more and more. Eventually Out Of Sight lets loose that it knows how cool it is, and allows the viewer to fully take in its coolness. It was at that moment, when the film first hits the streets of Detroit, that I realized I was loving every cool minute of what I was watching.

When it comes to Out Of Sight cool is King, but the Prince to the film’s cool is its sexiness. I don’t think it’s a stretch to say that Jennifer Lopez is not that great of an actress. I know that I’ve never seen her in a role where I thought she was anything more than middling at best. Out Of Sight is different, it is a great role for Miss Lopez. I say role, because what Mr. Soderbergh does that is insanely smart is he doesn’t allow for Miss Lopez to perform all that much. The camera is the performer, it forms an intimate relationship with Miss Lopez and expresses her sexiness far better than she ever could by herself. George Clooney can give a great performance, and that is why his relationship with the camera is different. The camera loves him, and it caresses his features in the same way that it does Miss Lopez’s. However, Mr. Clooney doesn’t let the camera control him like with Miss Lopez. He grabs the camera and bade that the camera follow him and do what he pleases. He exudes sexiness in the way that the camera follows him, but he also exudes his own sexiness through sheer personality.

Cool and sexiness don’t often have a lot in common with believability. But, what I am going to tell you is going to blow your mind;¬†Out Of Sight is cool, it is sexy, and it is also believable. Okay, maybe I got a little ahead of myself, because not all of Out Of Sight is believable. Some of its elements, like the actual finale heist, are a tad on the unbelievable side. However, the characters are believable and that makes everything else around them something that the audience can believe in as well. The sexiness between Miss Lopez and Mr. Clooney combines with the cool of the film to form a charismatic connection between those two that is utterly believable. I bought Ving Rhames as the loyal friend, Steven Zahn as the fuck-up, and Albert Brooks as the nebbish money man. I believed, and with a heist film like Out Of Sight it’s so important that the audience believe.

Mr. Soderbergh pulls out some of his usual tricks, which I greatly appreciated. I still dig when he changes the color pallet of his films based on the city/country where the action is taking place. It makes sense that Miami is bright and loud, while Detroit has had almost every color drained out of it except for a blueish tint. I suppose that if I am being honest the techniques employed by Mr. Soderbergh are a major factor in why I found Out Of Sight as cool as I did. There are a lot of heist films out there, but I always have room in my heart for a heist film that’s cool, sexy, and believable. Out Of Sight beams with those three qualities, and that’s a sunshine worth soaking into your pores.

Rating:

***1/2

Cheers,
Bill

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4 responses to “Review: Out Of Sight (1998)

  1. You are a really talented writer, Bill.

  2. Thank you kindly Mr. Sherlock. ūüôā

  3. Nice work, Bill. Out of Sight is my favorite Soderbergh film, which is saying a lot because I’m a big fan of his work. This is an excellent review and really gets at the heart of why this movie works so well.

  4. Thanks, and Out of Sight is near the top of my Sodie list. I still prefer quite a few of his films to it, but it’s a great one nonetheless.

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