Full disclosure, I’ve never been a huge Steven Soderbergh fan. His films always seem like useful watches, primarily because of their varied, always intriguing, premises. For the most part, I align with the filmmaker’s worldview and ideals, so there’s nothing necessarily grating or off-putting about the experience of watching his work. Sometimes there’s a standout, like The Girlfriend Experience, or a film with a few outstanding parts, like Magic Mike, but most often I find the films – notably Contagion or Haywire – to be less than the sum of their own compelling initial conceits.
For as chameleon-like as Soderbergh has been advertised to be, I’ve found his work to be held together by captivating, often static, sometimes sterile images. Since Traffic, Soderbergh has lenses all of his movies himself. While the content is varied and wide-ranging, the looks of these films are comparable, making him a unique auteur in Hollywood. Instead of returning to themes, or tones, or ideas, Soderbergh tends to come back to a literal way of seeing the worlds he captures.
Once again, this video was swiped from Press Play. Another of their wonderful video essays.