Wow... I've just seen Steven Soderbergh's new movie, Bubble, which has gotten some press for being released in theaters, on DVD, and on cable TV all in the same week. I picked up the DVD last weekend at Target.
(More in the complete post)
In a word: brilliant. It's not going to be to everyone's taste, particularly because the plot is very slowly paced, and the editing is extremely spare. But if you give it time, this movie will burn itself into your brain, for many reasons.
Visually, the film is wonderful. All the locations used are real, and most were shot with available light, but the framing (most of the time the camera remains static) makes fast food restaurants, mobile homes, a bakery, and the doll factory look like monuments. Some of the scenes of doll manufacture are surreal and unsettling.
The actors are all non-professionals, cast from the small Ohio town where Soderbergh and his team found the doll factory that the characters work in. The film was shot sequentially, and the actors often didn't know about plot points that were going to unfold in the scene they were about to shoot. The acting can be a little awkward at times, but the characters these people are playing are also awkward, so it comes across as natural. Two of the scenes, one where a character is accused of a murder, and another where an elderly man hears of the first character's arrest, are so subtle and powerful that I had to jump back and watch them twice. (In fact I watched the whole film twice this afternoon, and may very well watch it again tomorrow.) Having spent a lot of my growing-up years in a small town, I thought this movie had one of the most realistic depictions of small-town life I've ever seen on film.
I'd highly recommend this to anyof y'all looking for something a little unusual and very, very effective.