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  • Wendy Shreve

RETURN OF THE STYLISH ACTION THRILLER, STEVEN SODERBERGH'S NO SUDDEN MOVE

When Director Steven Soderbergh hits his mark, he smashes expectations. Whether it be from his early days e.g., Sex, Lies and Videotape (1989), to his blockbuster, the remake of Ocean's Eleven (2001) to the 2017 comedy, Logan Lucky, the storyteller has mastered thrills and suspense. Of course, not all the director's films have been box office and/critical hits. Happily, he' s returned with a vengeance.


No Sudden Move (2021), at its onset, presents counterforces. Just released from prison in 1954 Detroit, Curt Goynes (another award-worthy performance) needs cash. His nefarious contact, Jones, a white dude played by an obese Brendan Frasier, offers Goynes an easy-money job: to babysit a family, i.e. keep them hostage until the father, Matt Wertz, (David Harbour) retrieves a document from his boss's safe.


Reluctantly, Goynes agree to share the duties with Charlie (Kieran Culkin playing against type) and Ronald Russo (Benecio del Toro finally getting a substantive role worthy of his talent). No one trusts anyone; then the fun begins.


Many familiar faces in Soderbergh movies also have their moments. Part of the amusement involves identifying the talented actors who in a flash become their remarkable characters. And, don't get the impression that women play second fiddle to the men. Far from it, Julia Fox (Vanessa Capelli) and Amy Seimetz (Amy Wertz) play crucial roles in this thriller.


Casting aside, Soderbergh's newest venture also captures the stylishness of the period, in wardrobe, production design, and shot-making. More importantly, it covers familiar themes that never get tiresome: class, race, greed, spousal abuse; artifice with finesse.


Screenwriter Ed Solomon's sharp, concise dialogue fits the appropriate characters; he uses the gift of the gab with other personas. The story could've have easily been a house of cards without a solid foundation: the hook becomes the key to launching a wild ride--literally and figuratively. Note classic car enthusiasts will go bonkers over the beauties used in the movie.


No Sudden Move implies inertia but that's far from true. Once the motor starts running, hang on and buckle your seatbelt.


Rated R for profanity, violence and imperiled children.


Now streaming on HBO/MAX.


Earlier reviews not seen on this website (before May 20, 2021) are available on https://www.rottentomatoes.com/critic/wendy-shreve/movies


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