A few small-time criminals—freelancers, if you will—get what seems to be an honest gig from the gangland bosses. Except, it seems the gig isn’t so good. How, then, does this den of thieves navigate the terrain of massive money backstabbing to purge what’s theirs? In Steven Soderbergh’s latest movie for Warner Media/HBOMax, No Sudden Move, men and ladies jockey for his or her place within the hierarchy of yank wealth and standing within the 1950s. But the jockeying is futile in some cases, of course: Whoever’s not at the highest already knows they’re probably not getting to get there.
Soderbergh, working as he often does with casting director Carmen Cuba, has assembled a top-tier cast of character actors with a sprinkling of previous blockbuster stars. Soderbergh regular Don Cheadle and Traffic alum Benicio Del Toro head the cast as two Detroit hoods who get in over their heads. Del Toro plays a cryptic Italian lowlife, Richard Russo; Cheadle is overambitious aging fuck-up, Curt Goynes. Goynes and Russo know and fear tons of equivalent people, but they’re fundamentally opposed. That they need to form a team is an insult to Russo, who’s an overt racist, suspicious of Black people’s greediness, as he calls it. Goynes, though, is a smaller amount focused on Russo’s character and more aware of his own possible gains; he has accounts to settle.
Here’s where the others are available. She Dies Tomorrow filmmaker Amy Seimetz, who wrote and directed the primary season of the Soderbergh-produced series The Girlfriend Experience, plays depressed and slightly unruly housewife Mary Wertz; the beloved Stranger Things actor David Harbour is her emotionally absent husband, Matt. HBO kid regular Noah Jupe is their over-curious moody teen, Matthew. The three of them, plus a sweet kid sister, find themselves within the middle of Goynes and Russos’ job. Thrillingly, Brendan Fraser makes a long-overdue return to screen as gangland middle-manager Doug Jones, who won’t give any specifics about what he’s recruited Russo and Goynes to try to do alongside a man simply called Charley, played by Succession stand-out Kieran Culkin. Julia Fox and Ray Liotta play a marriage , and that’s all I’ll say that. The parade of characters goes on and on. you actually won’t want to miss national treasure Bill Duke in his element.
What’s incredible is that each one among these actors, and more, are given something worthwhile to try to do within the film. Mosaic writer Ed Solomon has teamed copy with Soderbergh to form reasonably grim and social-studies-heavy combat the gangland heist film sing on screen. There are gags and gunshots, often combined; biting turns of phrases delivered with charm (“Is that what I feel it is?” “It depends on what you think that it is”). With Soderbergh and his collaborators, you’ll never complain that great thespian skills were left to wander, or that you simply were bored. I’m unsure that I ever really knew what was happening in No Sudden Move—something about redlining, pollution, and therefore the American auto industry—but I used to be never taken out of the instant. Each beat pulsed with both anticipation and absurdity. If that’s not movie magic, then, well, it depends on what you think that movie magic is.
Matt Damon makes a cameo because the quite powerful white boss who is so confident in informing you why you’ll never touch him, even once you think you’ve got an honest shot. John Hamm puts in his regular hours as a suave cop who just must get to the rock bottom of this one, kid. The characters are types, and their storylines are tropes, but in No Sudden Move, the familiar isn’t merely cursory but instructive. concentrate, the film seems to mention. check out these people more closely than you’d otherwise. In moments, the camera takes on a sort of Othered gaze, dialed to 1950s Detroit. How are Black people, Italians, and housewives during this city sizing up their surroundings; what do they think they will get and the way do they think they’re getting to get it? because the auto industry poisons residents and buys up land where Black families have managed to get homes, how will various oppositions stake their claims? No Sudden Move asks the question in several ways. Neither Goynes nor Russo have answers, but they’ve got plans.