"No Sudden Move" Intrigues With Double Crosses, Dirty Dealings in 1950s Detroit

Eight years ago, Steven Soderbergh announced that he would be retiring from feature filmmaking.

"No Sudden Move" Intrigues With Double Crosses, Dirty Dealings in 1950s Detroit

It was short-lived, fortunately for us. He's been on an incredible run since 2017, releasing one to two movies per year. These include the NASCAR heist thriller Logan Lucky and the sharp sports-agency drama High Flying Bird. The Laundromat is a humorous look at financial fraud in 21st century. These movies are connected by how well-adjusted they are to money and class in a way that is still quite rare in Hollywood.

This trend continues with Soderbergh’s captivating new movie No Sudden Movement. This ensemble crime thriller is set in 1954 Detroit. It features stunningly designed environments with trenchcoats, wood-paneled offices, and vintage cars. Ed Solomon's intricately written script, which is reminiscent of the classic '50s noirs it inspired, is full double-crosses as well as dirty dealings.

Two crooks are at the heart of the story: Don Cheadle plays Curt Gaynes, and Benicio de Toro portrays Ronald Russo. These are low-level gangsters that have been hired by Mr. Jones (a well-done turn by Brendan Fraser) as part of a plan for Mark to steal a top-secret document at his company.

Curt and Ronald's job while Mark is stealing is to babysit Mark's children and wife. As you would expect in a stressful situation with masked men and loaded guns, the scheme quickly goes wrong. Curt and Ronald discover that they have been drawn into a massive corporate conspiracy amid all the chaos.

They realize that they can make a lot of money if they play their cards correctly and stay alive when the document finally falls into their hands. They soon discover that it's not a "if" as there is a price attached to their heads. They run into a variety of unpleasant characters over the next few days. Bill Duke plays the local kingpin, while Ray Liotta plays the surly gangster. Jon Hamm appears as a nosy detective in police -- and looks just like he did in the decade prior to Mad Men.

Cheadle and Del Toro, both of whom have worked with Soderbergh previously, have a nice combative rapport. They play two very different characters who are tired of their criminal lives. Curt plans to retire while Ronald has other goals. He wants to give some of the wealth back to the Black communities in Detroit who have suffered a lot from the racist housing policies, and zoning laws.

These are only a few of many social issues that the movie addresses, such as the tensions between the Black and Italian population of the city and the devastating environmental effects of an unchecked auto industry. Although these issues aren't always integrated as seamlessly into the story, they still give No Sudden Movement an edge. The elegant camerawork and Hannah Beachler rich mid-century production design draw you in, but also expose the inequalities lurking below the surface.

Soderbergh's social conscience is not new to him. He has made many of his most memorable movies about working-class people, including Magic Mike and Erin Brockovich. He shows us that the corrupt system is as corrupt as the men who work in the executive offices. No Sudden Move is full of terrible male behavior, but Soderbergh never lost interest in the characters of his female characters. He also doesn't forget the important roles that women play in this gangland setting in the '50s.

Amy Seimetz, a major force in the Soderbergh-produced series The Girlfriend Experience, gives Mary one of the best performances. She is unflappable and courageous, unlike her husband, a feckless fool. Other great actors include Lauren LaStrada and Julia Fox, as well as Frankie Shaw. They may play housewives, mistresses, or secretaries but all of them have an inner strength, or defiant streak. This is a refusal to allow the controlling and cadish men in their lives to dictate the rules. Any of them would be a great choice to follow into movies, especially if Soderbergh is available to direct them.

Updated Date: 02 July 2021, 16:17

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