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Film / Out of Sight

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A 1998 crime drama/romance film based on the Elmore Leonard novel of the same name, starring George Clooney as Jack Foley, a gentleman bank robber, and Jennifer Lopez as Karen Sisco, the US Marshal tasked with apprehending him. Due to an impromptu hostage situation, Foley and Sisco find themselves locked in the trunk of a car together, where they quickly form a connection. Albert Brooks is Richard Ripley, a rich businessman and former fellow inmate of Foley's, with a stash of diamonds that Foley wants to steal. Don Cheadle plays Maurice "Snoopy" Miller, another former fellow inmate, a complete psychopath also looking to steal the diamonds.

Directed by Steven Soderbergh, Out of Sight is considered a highlight of Lopez's career, and it helped salvage Clooney's movie career after the Batman & Robin disaster.

Karen Sisco, a sequel series starring Carla Gugino in the title role, ran for a single season on ABC in 2003.


  • Adaptational Alternate Ending: Hejira doesn't appear in the novel, so there's no reason not to think Jack's going to be in jail for the rest of his life.
  • Adaptational Attractiveness: Both Jack and Buddy. Jack is described as good looking, but nothing like George Clooney, and he reminds Karen of Harry Dean Stanton (his demeanor, not his looks) which Clooney doesn't convey at all. Buddy is more like an older White Boy Bob in the book.
  • Affably Evil: Downplayed in that Jack isn't evil, but what else can you call a guy who actually guides a bank teller through a robbery and takes the time to assure her that she's "doing fine"?
  • All-Natural Gem Polish: Averted and lampshaded. When found, the diamonds are uncut and mentioned to look like rocks.
  • Anti-Hero: While he's a career bank robber, Jack is one of the more morally upright and polite characters in the story. Karen is ultimately honor-bound to bring him to justice, but he's still a "good guy" for ultimately going against his self-interest to oppose the evil Snoopy.
  • Ascended Extra: "The Ripper" Ripley. In the book he's a very minor character, and isn't at home in Detroit when the last caper takes place. The movie expands the role-to compare Ripley's thievery to Foley's-and has him at the mansion during the home invasion.
  • Bank Robbery: Jack Foley is a master bank robber; the first scene is him robbing a bank without using a gun, by a daring scheme, then getting caught when his car won't start.
  • Bathtub Scene: Jack soaks in a tub following his escape. Karen confronts him, but ends up climbing into the bath with him before it's revealed to be a dream of hers.
  • Bittersweet Ending: Jack is caught and is getting transported back to Glades prison in Florida, likely for the rest of his life. Karen has to be the one to take him back, and while it's clear she still has feeling for him, they both know they can never share another "time out." Except for Karen having Jack share a ride with Hejira, an expert at prison escapes, hinting that she knows Jack will team up with Hejira to break out of Glades. And with Buddy out there with the stolen, easy-to-market uncut diamonds...
  • Black-and-Gray Morality: Jack and his crew are gray. They're criminals, but they have a sense of morality. Snoopy and his gang are black. They're murderers and rapists. Ultimately, Jack and Snoopy become at odds with each other.
    • Even Karen gets in on the Grey, being an otherwise decent cop who's engaged in an extramarital affair with a married DEA/FBI agent and later ends up in a romance with a criminal she's charged with arresting. Gets even dodgier in the film version where she implicitly aids the escape of said criminal from prison.
  • The Cameo: Samuel L. Jackson as the escape artist Foley meets at the end.
  • The Caper: The plan to steal Richard Ripley's diamonds.
  • Continuity Nod: Michael Keaton plays the same role (Ray Nicolette) he did in Jackie Brown, another Elmore Leonard adaptation. The movie had to make him a "loaner" character from the DEA (from Jackie Brown) to explain how he was with the FBI during the manhunt for escaped prisoners.
  • Cutting the Knot: When Snoopy and his gang are about to try a second attempt to shoot the safe open, she gives them the combination.
  • Death as Comedy: Snoopy's Bumbling Sidekick, White Boy Bob, has a habit of slipping and falling. Towards the end, when he has the drop on Jack, he slips and falls and shoots himself.
  • Erotic Dream: The movie plays with the audience in revealing which character is having the dream until it becomes obvious it's Karen. No guy bathes with scented candles.
  • Even Evil Has Standards: Downplayed in that Jack isn't evil, but he still makes a point of assuring Karen that he isn't going to rape her (when they get locked in the trunk) and later knowingly jeopardizes his chance at freedom to stop one of his fellow robbers from doing this to a woman.
  • Evil Counterpart: Snoopy, to Jack. Snoopy has his own band of Psycho Rangers-White Boy Bob and Kenneth-mirroring Foley's team of Buddy and Glenn (watch for the scene at the boxing gym for a cool contrast).
  • The Film of the Book: An Elmore Leonard novel.
  • Fanservice: Jack and Karen stripping down to their underwear in their hotel room.
    • During the home invasion, there's a brief shot of Ripley's housekeeper Midge in her bra and panties.
  • Freudian Trio: Jack Foley is the Ego (he is the leader and has to reconcile Buddy and Glenn); Buddy is the Superego (he regularly reminds Jack about what he should do to be safe); Glenn is the Id (he is a stoner and he follows his desires).
  • Genre Savvy: During their ride in the car trunk, Jack and Karen talk about old movies featuring characters like them: Bonnie and Clyde and Three Days of the Condor.
  • Genre Throwback: Much of the movie is meant to evoke old caper movies and romance movies. Examples include:
    • The Motown tune ("It's Your Thing") that plays over the opening credits.
    • The Art Deco hotels and apartment buildings of Miami.
    • The enormous old car that Buddy and Jack drive when they're in Miami.
    • The chiaroscuro lighting in the hotel bar scene.
    • The Hepburn/Tracy, Bogart/Bacall dynamic between Jack and Karen.
    • During their ride in the car trunk, Jack and Karen talk about old movies featuring characters like them: Bonnie and Clyde and Three Days of the Condor.
    • The Dean Martin song "Ain't That a Kick in the Head?" is playing on the stereo at Karen's father's house.
  • Gentleman Thief: Jack Foley and to a lesser extent Buddy.
    • Foley-who robs banks for easily-insured cash and without a gun-is contrasted with both Snoopy who coldly kills his robbery victims, and Morally Bankrupt Banker Ripley who stole more money and ruined more lives than Foley ever could (with Foley the most prolific bank robber in the FBI database!).
  • Gory Discretion Shot: Certainly not the violent climax, but earlier in the movie a messy multiple murder is suggested with only a few oblique shots (and Glenn's twitchy, shell-shocked reaction afterwards).
  • Great Escape: Jack's clever plot to break out of jail, complicated when he blunders into Karen.
  • Held Gaze: Jack and Karen in the Miami hotel.
  • Hidden in Plain Sight: The diamonds, sitting at the bottom of a fish tank.
  • In Medias Res: The movie starts off with a Cold Open of Foley getting thrown out of a business office and then coldly crossing the street to rob a bank. The rest of the movie mixes current time with flashbacks up to the point where we see why Foley got tossed out of that office.
  • I Just Shot Marvin in the Face: "Whitey Boy" Bob accidentally shoots himself after he trips while running up a flight of stairs with a drawn pistol and his finger on the trigger.
  • Insistent Terminology: Maurice's do-rag is not lavender, thank you very much, it's lilac.
  • Knight, Knave, and Squire: Jack Foley is the knight (he is an idealistic Gentleman Thief - he knowingly jeopardizes his chance at freedom to stop one of his fellow robbers from raping to a woman); Buddy is the knave (he is an experienced and realistic thief); Glenn is the squire (he is an unexperienced thief).
  • A Match Made in Stockholm: Foley tosses Karen into the trunk of his car during his jailbreak. During the time together they talk about movies, doing time in prison... and the sparks fly.
  • Meet Cute: Who hasn't met their true love inside the trunk of a car?
  • The Missus and the Ex: Played with when Karen goes to interview Foley's ex-wife Adele for clues, as Karen technically isn't in a relationship with Foley (yet). The novel has it that Adele figures out right away that Foley flirted with Karen while locked up in that car trunk, and starts giving Karen tips about Foley's social tics rather than the next heist he's got planned.
  • Ms. Fanservice: JLo as Karen in general, but especially when she strips down...
  • My Car Hates Me: After a clever but impulsive heist Foley is arrested when his car fails to start.
  • Never Going Back to Prison: Foley has this attitude, and when Karen has him caught at Ripley's mansion he tries to do a Suicide by Cop and get her to kill him. She gets around this by shooting him in the leg... and then setting it up so Foley can team up afterwards with escape artist Hejira.
  • One Last Job: Lampshaded and played straight. Also The Caper.
  • Only in Florida: Combined with Motor City. The book and movie are located in both cities-Detroit and Miami-that Leonard famously writes into most of his work.
  • Overprotective Dad: Hilariously so. Her dad (Farina) is upset that Karen is having an affair with Ray Nicolette, a married DEA/FBI agent... and yet seems more than willing to encourage her "pursuit" of bank robber Jack Foley knowing full well what Jack and Karen's "Time Outs" really mean.
  • Perpetual Tourist: Referenced. Karen mockingly asks Foley if he imagines he'll retire to some tropical paradise. He counters that he always preferred mountains.
  • Race Lift: Buddy, and to an extent Karen. Buddy, in the novel, is white and described as a redneck-in the movie he's Ving Rhames. Karen's description in the novel has her as blonde, though it doesn't mention any distinct ethnicity.
  • Rape Is a Special Kind of Evil: Jack makes a point of assuring Karen that he isn't going to rape her (when they get locked in the trunk) and later knowingly jeopardizes his chance at freedom to stop one of his fellow robbers from doing this to a woman.
  • Rated M for Manly: Has a cast line-up - not just the guys like Clooney, Rhames, Farina, GUZMAN! and Cheadle but also the ladies like Lopez and Nancy Allen - that makes Rated M movies on a regular basis, involves a heist, and relies on a Elmore Leonard novel to provide cool dialogue and cooler anti-heroes. It's also a surprisingly great date movie thanks to the romantic chemistry between Jack and Karen.
  • Shout-Out: In the car trunk, Foley and Karen argue about movie romances, especially the one in Three Days of the Condor, where the kidnapped woman falls in love a little too quickly with her hostage-taker. Meanwhile, they're doing it to themselves...
  • A Simple Plan: The home invasion to nab Ripley's diamonds.
  • Sliding Scale of Gender Inequality: Karen suffers at her job. Her male co-workers and superiors keep dismissing or questioning her work, the crooks she handles as a Marshal are sexist: This despite her being hyper-competent, smarter than nearly every other character, and able to handle herself in a fight.
  • Sophisticated as Hell: Most of what Snoopy says. E.g.: "In a situation like this, there's a high potentiality for the common motherfucker to bitch out."
  • Spared by the Adaptation: Buddy. When he and Jack try to rescue Midge from Kenneth in the book, Buddy takes a shot from Kenneth's shotgun and dies almost immediately. He not only lives in the movie but gets away with Ripley's diamonds.
  • Spin-Off: Karen Sisco had a short-loved television series called, appropriately enough, Karen Sisco.
  • Star-Crossed Lovers: Karen Sisco and Jack Foley, a cop and a bank robber, have difficulty "taking a time-out".
  • The Stoner: Glenn, played by Steve Zahn, Foley's Bumbling Sidekick..
  • Suicide by Cop: Foley attempts this. Karen shoots him in the leg.
  • Take a Third Option: Foley doesn't want to go back to jail, and Karen has to bring him back to jail. So while she shoots him in the leg to catch him, Karen also sets it up so that Foley can team with escape artist Hejira so he can escape later.
  • Throwing the Fight: Snoopy does this in prison. He doesn't take it well when the other guy brags about his "victory".
  • Very Loosely Based on a True Story: Leonard got the idea of Karen Sisco as a character when he once saw a picture of a blonde Marshal holding a shotgun in the newspaper. And the Glades prison break during a Super Bowl weekend is based on a Real Life escape prisoners made from Glades during a football playoff night (they figured - rightly - the guards and police would be distracted by the game).