Other films by Steven Soderbergh: Sex, Lies, and Videotape (1989), Ocean's Eleven (2001), Contagion (2011)
I made my own controversies and prejudice on this film internally than anyone else I can imagine. It’s a very complicating and confusing notion to explain, but this movie must have been popular in my mind. I expected much but was even more surprised to find out after watching the film that Mr. Steven Soderbergh directed it. Obviously you can tell that the film was pseudo-epically directed, the plot was general and outstanding with research. It’s hard work. But then it did lack something that I believe is important with film, and that’s the avoidance of toning the overall theme to what the public must contemporarily admit to. Still, I admire how the film managed to depict the world of drugs, the outside layer at least and how important it must be addressed. The perspectives taken and the small ironies that we find in every separated story is magnificently written and nerve wrenchingly told.
Directing: There’s a unique way of seeing this film being directed and I think that’s special. Told a whole lot and made us experience something new in such limited time. Has a feeling of low budget but to pack it all together has a near epic film is very well done.
The first bust with the coke in the truck could have been far more thrilling and exciting; like showing the perspectives of the loaders first instead of the cops. Or maybe Soderbergh wanted to deceive into thinking they’re not really cops but mobs.
The scene when Arnie visited Helena and was warning her about the wire has to belong in my favourite scenes list. That was intelligently crafted and amazingly acted. The music that time worked very well and the surprise that it brought to Helena was the same surprise given to the audience. Must also be a classic. I loved the transition and the seriousness given to it.
Helena’s prison conversation with her husband was beautifully acted and written. It must get the praise that it deserves. Simple yet captivating.
The way the scene when Claire got busted smoking meth by her highly profiled politician father was directed and edited was thrilling and very suspenseful. It felt real and convincing; one of my favourite scenes in the film. But not as good or as epic as the Food Assassination scene, it impressed me in all levels. The way it was directed and shot was magnificent; the acting was great, dialogue although forced and out of character was still good, but the way it was told and choreographed blew me away. It fooled me twice, intelligently done. Soderbergh has that power.
Plot: Grabbed a heavy weight of significance by exploring the world and war of drugs. Perspectives makes understanding and this film really tried its best taking the ones that would help experience such world and accept our own opinions after the learning. Soderbergh does well not making anything bias, but my only criticism is that some scenes were obviously toned as to another direction of emotion. Films should not force the audience their feelings.
The overdose feeling in visual and acting was well done. But the panic should have been better. It seemed like it’s “acting” instead of feeling ironically “real”. The dialogue needed work too. There should possibly be frightening silence. As if waiting for someone to have an immediate idea, any idea, what to do. Music and audio should have been shaped here but it was practically absent of valuable use.
The magnified point of view of a politician sharing personal problems that interconnect with his daughter’s own torments was special and beautifully sad. The tension between them and the acting was overall great.
The way Soderbergh told Claire’s addiction story was very heartbreaking, it reminded me of Astrid in Janet Fitch’s White Oleander; lovely and innocent but tormented.
Characters/Acting: There are some winners and losers here. Don Cheadle had his great moments but also some lacking one, Del Toro was convincing and average. Chatherine Zeta Jones was marvellous. Topher was annoying and much to blame was the way his character was written. And I was very much impressed with Erika Christensen’s acting, she did more than well. Miguel Ferrer was impressive as well.