A ridiculously underrated movie, in my opinion. Matt Damon delivers a brilliant performance as real life whistleblower/conman Mark Whitacre and the film itself is a perfectly executed comedy – which might be the problem. The film is so absurdly entertaining that it’s easy to miss just how well-crafted and good it really is.
Remakes of foreign language films – particularly films considered masterpieces – are rarely well-received. Soderbergh’s Solaris isn’t really different in that respect, having been met with mixed reviews, but considered solely on its own terms, I think it has to be considered a success. It’s a meditative, psychological science fiction drama that plays with big ideas and stays true to itself right through to the end.
The film that won Soderbergh a Best Director Oscar, Traffic is a sprawling drama about the drug trade that does something all too rare: it explores a social issue without preaching about it. With a huge cast and multiple plot threads, the film easily juggles the demands of its story, creating a totally absorbing thriller that manages to remain gripping for the entirety of its 2 and a half hour running time.
A simply fantastic “cop and robber” story, starring Jennifer Lopez as a U.S. Marshal tracking down (and falling for) George Clooney’s bank robber/prison escapee. The film has a nice, sharp edge while still maintaining a cool atmosphere, and Soderbergh finds the perfect balance between the romantic plotline (playing it out as unsentimentally as possible) and the action sequences.
Soderbergh’s breakthrough movie remains his best. A twisted tale of, well, sex, lies and videotape centering on an unhappily and sexually dissatisfied couple whose marriage is undermined by the husband’s affair with his sister-in-law and by the arrival of a drifter who videotapes himself interviewing women about their sexual experiences, the film is so much more than it’s somewhat salacious sounding story. It’s pretty much a perfect piece of work in every respect.