I saw this years ago and could not find anything useful to say about it. I saw it again because I am trying to understand what Soderbergh is doing with his life. He worries me because I have invested part of my life to films he has made. I know him to be capable of following deep subterranean channels.
This film was apparently something he worked hard to put together. That’s precious energy from a man who alternates between silly-work-for-money and art.
The Limey is a favoured film because of the way he works with the edits: inside the mind of the assassin, things overlap, are anticipated and evaluated. It is a simple story as here, stereotypical but executed with visual risk. Why not something like that here, instead of mainstream technique? Is it because he couldn’t imagine a woman’s aggressive vision?
You can almost see Soderbergh setting this up to be an ambitious experiment. Otherwise, why recruit McGregor? Why start the filming with the motel room tussle and death? My theory is that Soderbergh thought to build a film like The Limey but using a woman’s eye, and including in that eye the knowledge that everyone she kills is someone she has slept with.
Weeks into this, with reshoots of the hotel room fight and different approaches to how brutal, how sexy, how desperate… and I think he decided that it was unreachable. And we end up with an ordinary TeeVee level chase movie.
Do we credit the ambition? Do we imagine the film that could have been made? Do we take this director seriously when he gives up time and again?
Ted’s Evaluation — 1 of 3: You can find something better to do with this part of your life.