If you’ve seen any of Steven Soderbergh’s recent films (Ocean’s Eleven, Erin Brockovich, The Limey, Out of Sight, etc.), you will surely recognize his directorial style on this one. As in those films, here his documentary-like visual quality and choppy editing makes the scenes feel like actual footage. Perhaps more than ever before, though, that gritty visual style fits perfectly with the subject matter in this movie, and is complemented by the subtly effective score.
We see harrowing depictions of, among others, the descent of a high school girl into drugs, the transformation of an affluent soccer mom into someone desperate enough to do anything to get her life back, and numerous characters attempting hopelessly to do the right thing. Soderbergh gets the most out of an immensely talented cast, and expertly weaves the various plot threads together in a way that is not picture-perfect, but not completely hopeless either. Kind of like real life.
Perhaps the most laudable thing about this picture is that the director stays true to his own artistic style, but he does not let it hinder the power of the extremely important message of the film. That message? Like the tag line says, no one gets away clean.
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Copyright 2002 by Toby Baldwin
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