Out of Sight (1998)

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The recent passing of author and screenwriter Elmore Leonard, I felt “Out of Sight” would be the perfect flick to profile. Elmore was a big part of Detroit and we will all miss him. 

Flick summary: 

Jack Foley (Clooney) a career bank robber breaks out of jail  with the help of Buddy (Rhames) and kidnaps a US Marshal Karen Sisco (Lopez) in the process. When the two cons head for Detroit to pull off their final score. Sisco is put on their case,  but she finds she is attracted to Foley and has second thoughts about bringing them in.

Flick Review: 

This is one of the closest and true adaptations of Elmore Leonard’s work. If your not acquainted with Elmore look him up you won’t regret it.  The director Steven Soderbergh shot the film in a very Neo Noir style, a contemporary film noir style. The key is really getting the Elmore Leonard dialogue down, Scott Frank and Steven Soderbergh really capture it. 

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George Clooney and Jennifer Lopez are the two main leads; I must say I am not a fan of Jennifer Lopez, but this is my favorite film of hers and does a great job as Karen Sisco. Lopez’s cool calmness as Karen Sisco works perfectly as her US Marshal persona, but her warmness and affection with Jack (Clooney) rounds out the character so well. Clooney is great as Jack Foley the chemistry he has with Lopez makes the film really work, the trunk scene where Karen is kidnapped by Jack really sets up the film. The supporting cast is also excellent, having Don Cheadle as the villain of the piece really works. He is amusing as well as ruthless, Cheadle’s portrayal is scary at times of how much he seriously doesn’t care.  Steve Zahn’s character brings great levity to the film. 

This film has always been a favorite of mine, it is a must for an Elmore Leonard fan and is great to see Detroit be part of these characters.

Locations:

Like many of Elmore Leonard’s books the locations happen to be in Detroit and Miami. Hollywood got it right this time, they shot in Detroit and shot Detroit how it is. For better or worse the movie feels like Detroit, but it has an elegance and charm the way it is shot by Steven Soderbergh (Director). He does it justice.

The State theater is talked about  a lot in the film as meet location for Foley and Don Cheadle’s character Maurice. They are talking about the fights that take place there….they never had boxing matches at the State Theater. The exterior of the State Theater was used, but the interior was not the State. Sadly in recent years the State Theater was bought and changed to chain theater called the Fillmore, not too happy about that…..still call it the state.

Address: 2115 Woodward Avenue Detroit, MI 48201

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The climax of the film takes place at a huge house in Bloomfield Hills.  It was filmed the Surria Court area of Bloomfield Hills.

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The Kronk Gym that has been part of Detroit for years was also made part of the film.

Address: 555 McGraw Street Detroit, MI 48210

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There were many areas and houses in the Detroit area. It showed the Detroit that is more of the every day. Then some of the glamour areas were also shown with the Coach Insignia restaurant and rooms at the Marriott Renaissance Center downtown for the pivotal scene were Jack and Karen given into their attraction for each other.

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Flick Trivia: 

Michael Keaton appears in Out of Sight as Ray Nicolette. Keaton also appears as Nicolette in a larger role in Tarintino’s Jackie Brown an adaptation of Elmore’s Rum Punch. 

The mug shot that is used of George Clooney’s character in the film was actually his mug shot from “From Dusk Till Dawn”. Lopez’s character makes the comment that “He doesn’t even look like that.”

A good part of the film takes place in the Glades prison in Florida. These scenes were shot in an Angola Prison in Louisiana and 500 of the inmates were used as extras on the film.

Elmore considered this a totally happy film experience, unlike most of his dealings with Hollywood. He had a very difficult time with Hollywood understanding how to film his work or not really caring. “Out of Sight” and  “Get Shorty” are considered two of the best adaptations.

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