The Lookout appears in an aspect ratio of 2.40:1 on this single-sided, double-layered DVD; image has been enhanced for 16X9 televisions. While no significant flaws popped up here, the transfer seemed a little lackluster.
Sharpness was pretty good. A little softness crept in at times, partially due to a little edge enhancement. However, most of the flick appeared reasonably accurate and concise. I noticed no jagged edges or shimmering, and source flaws remained absent in this clean image.
Don’t expect vivid tones from Lookout. It went with severely subdued colors most of the time and became nearly monochromatic on occasion. Within the film’s visual design, the hues looked fine. Obviously they weren’t impressive, but they were more acceptable given the movie’s scheme. Blacks were fairly dark and deep, but shadows could be a bit murky. Lookout came with a lot of low-light shots, and some of these came across as somewhat impenetrable. Nonetheless, I thought the image remained satisfactory.
In addition, the Dolby Digital 5.1 soundtrack of The Lookout was acceptable but unexceptional. Of course, I didn’t expect a wild mix for this kind of film, so its low-key sound design was fine with me. The soundfield usually stayed with environmental information. Various elements appeared well placed in the setting and blended together smoothly. A few sequences cranked up the action a little better – mainly during the robbery – but most of the piece was subdued. Still, it used the spectrum to decent effect.
I felt audio quality satisfied. Music appeared full and rich, while effects sounded clean and accurate. Some good low-end information came through during the smattering of louder scenes. Speech remained crisp and concise. At no point did this mix excel, but it seemed more than adequate for the material.
In terms of extras, we open with an audio commentary from writer/director Scott Frank and director of photography Alar Kivilo. Both sit together for this running, screen-specific piece. They discuss cinematography and shooting digitally, sets and locations, production design, story and editing, cast and performances, and a mix of other technical topics.
That nuts and bolts side of things dominates the chat. This means we get an informative commentary but not a particularly involving one – at least not if you want to know more about the creative side of things. Frank and Kivilo cover the technical issues well and offer many good insights into their work. However, the dry tone of the material makes it a little dense at times. Still, it’s a fine glimpse of various filmmaking techniques.
Two featurettes follow. Sequencing The Lookout runs 19 minutes, 58 seconds, as it mixes movie clips, shots from the set, and interviews. We hear from Frank, producers Walter F. Parkes, Gary Barber, Lawrence Mark and Roger Birnbaum, production designer David Brisban, and actors Joseph Gordon-Levitt, Jeff Daniels, Matthew Goode, and Isla Fisher.
We get some info about the project’s origins and development, casting, characters and performances, visual elements, locations and related complications, some story elements and a few other tidbits.
“Sequencing” provides a pretty tight little piece. At less than 20 minutes, you can’t expect it to provide a stellar examination of the production, but it does much better than most similar pieces. It digs into a number of useful topics in an engaging manner.
Next comes the nine-minute and 25-second Behind the Mind of Chris Pratt. Here we get comments from Frank, Gordon-Levitt, and Daniels. “Mind” focuses on the Chris character and Gordon-Levitt’s performance. We learn about his research and his approach to the role in this involving little piece.
A few ads open the disc. We get promos for Becoming Jane, Eagle Vs. Shark, and The Invisible. These also appear in the Sneak Peeks domain along with clips for Renaissance, The Hoax, Neverwas, and Our Very Own. No trailer for Lookout appears.
The Lookout provides an unusually rich thriller. It only occasionally falters as it focuses on characters and succeeds most of the time. The DVD presents pretty positive picture, audio and extras. All of these form a good release for an interesting movie.