Out of Sight

Out of Sight is rightly lauded for its sharp editing, but it’s just as much a demonstration of the importance of editing in writing. Every action and exchange of dialogue cracks like a whip in this film. And it's all to a purpose – either building character or advancing the plot.

There’s some intriguing symbolism at play as well. Karen gets the unusual present of a gun from her dad, a token of familial love that Jack Foley takes away from her. But as Karen and Jack’s relationship deepens, he gives the gun back as a way of showing his own affection for her. Jack has never actually shot anyone while Karen has – so within that gesture (and the gun’s obvious phallic connotations) is a subversion of stereotypical violent masculinity. The gift giving is repeated at the end when Karen allows Jack to play with his lighter for the duration of his trip to jail. Jack fiddles with it throughout the film but he doesn’t smoke – he plays with fire but tries not to get burned. He talks his way in and out of situations instead.

There is a lot of talk in the film. It’s known for the sizzling on screen chemistry between George Clooney and Jennifer Lopez, but that’s based less on sultry looks (I mean, there’s an awkward wave…) but on conversation. The climactic moment when they get together is purposefully overlaid with dialogue. These two just can’t stop talking to each other. And it’s not really flirting either – as demonstrated by the pick-up lines Karen has to fend off at the bar. It’s an attraction built on an appreciation of manner, bearing, charm and wit as much as their undeniable good looks.

And perhaps there’s also a mutual recognition that these qualities are not recognised by the world around them. Karen is condescended to by the men in her professional life. Jack’s talents are not valued in the real economy – they’d just get him a job as a security guard. The two find solace in each others appreciation for how good they are at what they do. It’s a bit like Heat except if Pacino and De Niro get to sleep together before their big showdown.

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