Title – No Sudden Move (2021)
Director – Steven Soderbergh (Ocean’s 11)
Cast – Don Cheadle, Benicio Del Toro, Brendan Fraser, David Harbour, Jon Hamm, Julia Fox
Plot – In Detroit of the 1950’s, lowly criminals Curt Goynes (Cheadle) and Ronald Russo (Del Toro) get caught up in a murky score they’ve been hired to complete that could make or break them as they begin to discover who their really working for.
“So what’s the score?”
Review by Eddie on 24/09/21
Continuing on his return from what must surely go down as one of the shortest retirements in Hollywood history, Oscar winning director Steven Soderbergh is back to the crime genre his known so well throughout his career with the likes of the Oceans trilogy, Traffic and Logan Lucky with his new star-studded vehicle No Sudden Move, a direct to HBO Max feature that is easy to watch without ever becoming the riveting outing it thinks itself to be.
Without question better than Soderbergh’s previous efforts such as the diabolical Unsane and the barely noted streaming efforts such as High Flying Bird, The Laundromat and Let Them All Talk, Move is a quick moving affair that is shot in a bizarre fish eye like manner thanks to extra long lenses (a distracting way too have filmed this talk heavy affair) as we follow low end rent a criminals Curt Goynes and Ronald Russo (Done Cheadle and Benicio Del Toro) as they navigate a complicated job that goes south very quickly in Detroit of the 1950’s.
Not bothering with much in the way of set-up or exposition as we get introduced to Goynes and Russo accepting a job off Brendan Fraser’s organiser Doug Jones, Move gets stuck into things without a fuss or worry but the travails of these two shady figures isn’t always engaging enough to hold our interest, even if a late act play about what’s really going on and what lays at the heart of the job at hand makes things far more interesting in the grand scheme of things, making one wish Soderbergh had allowed this too play out a little earlier to help overcome the films hump in its middle act after a solid home hold-up start.
As is usually the case with a Soderbergh film in this genre, the films dialogue and delivery from a name brand cast ensures this small-scale film feels larger and more prestigious than it perhaps ought to feel like and having been long term servants of Soderbergh projects, Cheadle and Del Toro are as solid as ever as two rather generic central figures with lot of joy to be had in the supporting turns from the likes of Fraser, Ray Liotta, David Harbour and a surprise cameo from someone that may not in fact be such a surprise on second thought.
Capturing the time and place of 1950’s Detroit well and ensuring things keep moving even when not a whole lot is happening, Move is a polished middle of the road effort from Soderbergh but one still wonders what the whole point of his return from retirement is if his films continue to be of this generic nature, even if the technical aspects of them feel as though they’re an excuse for a creative to try and find the next best thing.
Final Say –
Not always thrilling, No Sudden Move isn’t able to match Soderbergh’s best efforts in the crime cannon of films but its able cast and neat last act still make it worth a look.
3 bottles of wine out of 5