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Most relevant reviews
- tetrismanAug 18, 2012by
An Early Gem From Soderbergh
Writer-director Steven Soderbergh famously dismissed everything he made between 1989's "Sex, Lies, And Videotape" and 1998's "Out Of Sight" as "attempts and mistakes"; he has been particularly harsh towards his 1995 crime film "The Underneath", calling it "cold" and "somnambulant".
It's an interesting experience when an artist holds their own work in low regard; it forces any audience member who enjoyed the piece to ask themselves "Did I miss something? Am I WRONG to like this?".
For I enjoyed "The Underneath" immensely, when I saw it in the cinema during its original run and again recently on DVD. I like Soderbergh, and everything I like about him is here; there's the mood-filled cinematography, the inventive and engaging use of flashback and forward, the spare but effective spurts of violence. Most importantly, there's his low-key and unsensational approach to story, which makes the characters' life-changing (and potentially melodramatic) circumstances and decisions all too believable.
The film is also well-served by the cast. Peter Gallagher's lead is a character with few redeeming features, but the actor manages to make us care about, and perhaps even barrack for, him. I haven't seen Alison Elliott in anything in the last 17 years, which seems unfair based on the alluring-but-ambiguous performance she offers here. On the villainous side of things, Adam Trese excels at playing a cop you'd never trust and William Fichtner is alternately silky and snarly as a shady clubowner. And can you name a film that hasn't been improved by the presences of Paul Dooley, Shelley Duvall and Joe Don Baker in supporting roles?
I haven't mentioned anything about the plot and I will not do so. The fact that this is a remake of a 1940s 'film noir' and that a gambling debt, a femme fatale, a jealous gangster, and a heist gone wrong all come into play should be more than enough to get you interested.
Soderbergh can discount "The Underneath" if he wishes. This reviewer respectfully refuses to do the same, compliments the director on his craftsmanship, and declares the film an absorbing, rewarding experience.Read full review
- roosters74harle...Oct 20, 2010by
THE UNDERNEATH (DVD,1998,WIDESCREEN)
FOR PASSION,BETRAYAL AND MURDER...THERE'S STILL NO PLACE LIKE HOME.
PETER GALLAGHER,ELISABETH SHUE AND JOE DON BAKER SET THE STAGE FOR DANGER IN THIS PROVOCATIVE THRILLER. A CHARMING DRIFTER RETURNS TO HIS "HOME", WHERE HE MAKES A DESPERATE AND VERY DANGEROUS DEAL IN ORDER TO RECLAIM HIS EX-GIRLFRIEND (ALISON ELLIOTT). WHEN PASSION IGNITES INTO OBSESSION, A TREACHEROUS GAME OF "WHO CAN YOU TRUST?" SPINS A DEADLY WEB OF INTRIGUE AND MURDER-FROM WHICH NO ONE ESCAPES UNSCATHED.