In Focus: The Lookout

Lester (Andres Vasquez) is a gay hitman with a troubled, traumatic past. As the primary suspect of several high-profile killings, he ends up at odds with the person he loves, Travis (Jay Garcia).

I’ll admit I was so engaged in the first act and believed it was headed somewhere dark, gritty, and controversial. I appreciated that it pushed the envelope as far as sex, nudity, and subject matter goes. The visuals and editing are also top-notch. I even disregarded my earlier quibbles on the obviously scripted meeting between an NBI chief and his investigation unit, or the fact that a hitman service is called “more affordable.”

But there was a turning point midway through of Timothy Solis (Rez Cortez) calling his nemesis in petty retaliation that I finally realized what The Lookout film is going for: B-movie cult classic status. That’s when all pretense finally dropped and all the silliness went loose.

From the cheesy lines between Lester and Jay (mahal + alaga = mahalaga), Monica’s (Elle Ramirez) tantrum scene (ayusin nyo naman tangina!), the couple sporting both torches and flashlights to the hideout (why not both?), Travis carrying his lover’s lifeless body to shore but not his father’s, to an officer asking Monica and Merlin (Yayo Aguila) to move aside while emoting, the best way to enjoy this film is just to enjoy it.

You know what, I wouldn’t have minded that if the script were solid. But as it stands, it felt like a lot of material was left on the cutting room floor. We didn’t get to fully understand Lester’s modus and his clientele, or how his relationship with Travis blossomed. Characters like the driver (Jeffrey Santos) and the woman working for Timothy are all but glorified cameos. I can’t help but imagine how slicker the movie would have been if it used Travis’ perspective – he’s the titular lookout after all – or if Timothy and the NBI chief were given more time to play.

It’s a shame because this is a pretty game cast. Out of the three leads, Jay Garcia in particular has a lot of depth for a budding actor. It’s also not everyday that you see Rez Cortez stripped naked and humiliated – now that’s commitment! Yayo Aguila’s scenes may feel misplaced but she gives her all.

Does it achieve cult classic status? No. But I’d say it’s one of the more entertaining gay indie films out there.

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