Those are just a few of the many social issues the movie touches on, including the tensions between the city's Black and Italian populations and the disastrous environmental consequences of an unchecked automobile industry. These matters aren't always woven as smoothly into the story as they could have been, but they give No Sudden Move a potent edge nonetheless. You're pulled in by the suave camerawork and Hannah Beachler's rich mid-century production design, but you're also made aware of the inequities churning beneath the surface.
That social conscience is nothing new for Soderbergh, who's made some of his best movies about working-class strivers, from Erin Brockovich to Magic Mike. Here he's less focused on individuals than an entire corrupt system, showing us how the men in the executive suites are as crooked as the ones shooting each other in the streets. But while No Sudden Move does feature a lot of awful male misbehavior, Soderbergh has always been just as interested in his female characters, and he doesn't neglect the crucial roles played by the women in this '50s gangland setting.
Amy Seimetz—a key force on the Soderbergh-produced series The Girlfriend Experience—gives one of the movie's best performances as Mark's wife, Mary. Unlike her feckless fool of a husband, she handles a scary situation with unflappable smarts and courage. There are other terrific actors, too, like Lauren LaStrada, Julia Fox and Frankie Shaw: They may be playing housewives or mistresses or secretaries, but they all have an inner strength or defiant streak, a refusal to let the caddish and controlling men in their lives call the shots. I'd gladly follow any of them into movies of their own—especially if Soderbergh is around to direct them.
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