With Haywire roaring into theaters on January 20th, Steven Soderbergh marks a foray into action that has been decidedly absent from the prolific filmmaker's career.
Over the span of his career, Soderbergh has tackled politics, legal issues, and particularly psychology. He hasn't been a stranger to fluff, proving three Ocean's flicks that are decidedly waning in value as time goes on—despite the quality of the original.
It's not hard to guess the top two of Soderbergh's career, but take a look at where some of his other accomplishments (Out of Sight, Che, and Erin Brockovich) landed on the list, if at all.
What do you think? Let us know in the comments.
5 | Che
Benicio Del Toro's collaborations with Steven Soderbergh have produced two of his best works. Che, an epic two part journey told completely in Spanish, is a broad stroke of genius from Soderbergh. Che's only issue is the up front curve for audiences. It's completely in a foreign language, extremely dense, and at times feels like an on-screen text book. That curve is also what makes Che so brilliant—it's completely and unabashedly honest and painstaking in its attention to every aspect of the enigmatic Che.
4 | Erin Brockovich
The role that earned Julia Roberts
and Oscar is another example of Soderbergh's commitment to his craft. A dialog heavy film must be nurtured with a certain visual flair (see: Manhattan
). Soderbergh injects Erin Brockovich
with a hefty dose of hand-held camera work, dusty colors that seem to stick to the screen with sweat, and some clever camera tricks to create one of the more visually deceiving car crashes seen on-screen.
3 | Contagion
so high on the list may seem premature, but Soderbergh crafted one of the most chilling thrillers of the year. The best part is: You never see the monster—because you can't. Contagion
is a horrifyingly real look at what would happen if the world was faced with a global pandemic. The performances are stellar, and Soderbergh's unique style heightens the feeling of impending apocalyptic feelings.Contagion
has already been tagged as the first "post-modern" piece of cinema, where the only connection between the characters is the similar circumstances with which they are presented. Unlike other styles (Tarantino
comes to mind), the characters don't actually meet up with each other to connect their stories—the mosaic idea of the post-modern experience fits in rather nicely with Soderbergh's OCD inducing effort.
2 | Sex, Lies, and Videotape
Soderbergh became one of the most prolific young directors in Hollywood when the then 26-year-old debuted with Sex, Lies, and Videotape
and won the top honor at Cannes. Videotape
is quintessential Soderbergh, an early masterpiece that is surprisingly polished.Dealing with an assortment of issues, Soderbergh's signature style was already on display with his distinct camera work, uncompromising angles, and the understanding that film isn't pictures of two people talking—it's cinema
1 | Traffic
is a lot of film. Heavily influenced by the connecting storylines made famous by Tarantino and others during the mid-'90s, Soderbergh crafted a distinctly different type of film. The characters involved intersected on subject matter, but their eventually meeting (or not meeting) was not a central part of the narrative. Traffic
featured some of the most powerful acting performances of the '90s, and allowed Soderbergh to visually segment the stories with a variety of visual filters.Soderbergh's green and blues highlight the office environment and home struggles, while the dusty yellows and muted oranges showcase the life of a man in the trenches of the drug trade. Traffic
is the equivalent of a cinematic thesis on the world of drugs.
Traffic is Soderbergh's magnum opus.
Do you agree with this list?
Lee C. Jaster is a writer for GotchaMovies.com. Read more movie features and reviews at Gotcha Movies!