No Sudden Move

July 2, 202165/1006 min
Don Cheadle, Benicio Del Toro, David Harbour, Amy Seimetz
Written by
Ed Solomon
Directed by
Steven Soderbergh
Run Time
1 hr 55 min
Release Date
July 1st 2021
Overall Score
Rating Summary

It will be interesting to look back at the films of 2021-2022 as a caught-on-camera version of a time capsule of what certain filmmakers did in the face of a global pandemic. Some braved it and went big, like Tom Cruise and his Mission Impossible crew. Others went small like Malcolm & Marie for Netflix. Now we see what a middle-of-the-road film looks like in the shape of Steven Soderbergh’s latest No Sudden Move.

Curtis (Don Cheadle) has just been released from prison and only days out is looking for the kind of work that got him locked up in the first place. He is put in touch with Jones (Brendan Fraser) who offers him five-thousand dollars for 3 hours of work. It requires him and two others Ronald (Benicio Del Toro) and Charlie (Kieran Culkin) to “babysit” the family of Matt Wertz (David Harbour) while they get him to steal a document from his bosses safe. It’s all very Desperate Hours until things go sideways and Curtis and Ronald have to work together a little longer to survive and hopefully get paid what they are owed.

The film begins very old school, like a late 60’s or early 70’s vibe, though it takes place in the mid-50’s. However the type of photography that has a semi fish-eye lens which I found a bit disorienting at times, and the dialogue don’t exactly cement the film in the year it’s set in. The script by Ed Solomon (Bill & Ted filmsMen in Black) is kind of all over the place, again the dialogue is not really 50’s black and white era, or even a gritty version of the 50’s like in L.A. ConfidentialAnd as they fast forward through the crime so they can get to the deeper story along with another (different) document they need to get a hold of in order to get the upper hand and by the time we reach the top bad guy, we are left wondering what was it all for? Don’t get me wrong I’ll take criminal walking and talking Cheadle and Del Toro all the live long day, but a crime movie needs to go somewhere. Taking something with a similar structure like Chinatown which starts small then escalates to something bigger for our small-time heroes can work if done right. Soderbergh does his best to bring some of his buddies of films past to spout an excessive amount of exposition in what is supposed to have us going “ahh, I see…”, but instead we are scratching our heads much like our two leads. And with more double crosses and back-stabbing than four crime movies combined this goes from a tense caper to a film ending with real life historical facts flashed across the screen.

No Sudden Move starts as one movie and ends as another with its characters and their stories getting lost in the shuffle. Despite the fact that most of the cast look cool giving their best performances, even with support the likes of Ray Liotta, John Hamm, Bill Duke, and Amy Seimetz. As well as the talent of Soderbergh, all combined they could not sell or make us feel the impact of this over reaching script.

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