No Sudden Move (2021)
July 3, 2021 6:25 AM - Subscribe

A group of criminals are brought together under mysterious circumstances and have to work together to uncover what's really going on when their simple job goes completely sideways.

Steven Soderbergh's return to the crime/heist genre has gotten mostly good reviews:

Brian Tallerico -
Steven Soderbergh returns to HBO Max this week with a phenomenal genre exercise, an old-fashioned film with one of the sharpest ensembles he’s ever assembled (which is really saying something). Once again, he is interrogating power structures—a theme of films like “High Flying Bird,” “Traffic,” “The Girlfriend Experience,” and so many other greats—embedding sharp social commentary in a story of men with ulterior motives, in which only the truly corrupt come out on top. Soderbergh has always been an incredibly economic filmmaker—there’s no fat on his best movies and no unnecessary cuts or diversions—and this is one of his tightest films, a steel drum of betrayals and twists. For some reason, it feels like the director of modern classics like “Out of Sight” and “The Limey” is still underrated in some circles—take the fact that this film, which would look amazing on the big screen, will primarily be watched on tablets—but history will recognize him as one of the best of his generation, and “No Sudden Move” is just further proof.
Mike D'Angelo -
Movies routinely place characters in desperate, life-or-death situations, but rarely do we see them behave in a genuinely desperate way. No Sudden Move, a period crime drama written by Ed Solomon and directed by Steven Soderbergh, corrects this oversight in a way that’s at once hilarious and distressing. With masked men holding his wife and young children at gunpoint back at home, mild-mannered businessman Matt Wertz (David Harbour) shows up at his boss’ house, demanding a certain hush-hush document that the criminals seek. When the boss refuses to comply, Wertz increases the pressure with a series of quasi-apologetic threats, flailing in his effort to communicate just how serious he is without actually explaining what’s going on (since another masked gunman is listening from just outside the door). “I’m gonna punch you now, sir,” Wertz warns, practically in tears, after tackling his boss to the floor. “I’m punching you. This is gonna be a punch.” Refreshing words to hear from someone who’s clearly never thrown one before.
posted by octothorpe (11 comments total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
Is this the new title for the Suicide Squad sequel? :-)
posted by sammyo at 9:58 AM on July 3, 2021

this film, which would look amazing on the big screen, will primarily be watched on tablets


(a) I don't think that's true; I would guess most HBO Max viewing is on TVs, using either streaming devices or built-in apps, and (b) get over it already.

Looking forward to watching this over the weekend; we've been on a bit of a Soderbergh kick since The Knick came to HBO.
posted by We had a deal, Kyle at 10:53 AM on July 3, 2021 [1 favorite]

I really enjoyed this. Like most Soderbergh movies, it's realllly watchable, but crafted with enough care that you'd don't feel defensive admitting how much you enjoyed it. I saw several Twitter comments (sorry can't link to any single one, I was zombie-surfing the tide of Twitter opinion) basically admitting that it was nice to just watch a movie made for adults, and...yeah. That was nice.

The bleakest take would be ending with everyone dead -- the way the ending unfolded played my emotions to perfection. Right when I was about to get really resigned to the Coen brothers ending, I got surprised with the news that Don Cheadle's character survived! It made me way happier than it should've given everything else, but I guess that's how we approach life anyway.
posted by grandiloquiet at 7:00 PM on July 3, 2021

I enjoyed this thoroughly although I'm not sure if I got every detail of the plot. Soderbergh constrains his compulsion for experimentation to the cinematography and plays this one pretty straight which is probably a good choice considering how convoluted the script is. The cast is amazing and they all seem to be having a terrific time with it.
posted by octothorpe at 5:15 AM on July 4, 2021

Could not follow. This movie did the thing where there's too many characters and the characters names are being thrown around in the dialogue by other characters while they're off screen to give us backstory and sometimes it's their first name and sometimes it's their last name and you're like "wait a minute who are they talking about??" and if you blink or space out for like three seconds you miss everything.

I can tell it's a GOOD movie, but it's definitely not a chill and relax while slightly stoned movie. Which I may have been. Which may have not helped.
posted by windbox at 6:59 AM on July 4, 2021 [2 favorites]

I only had a couple of beers and still couldn't quite follow. I kept the Wikipedia cast list open on my phone so I could glance at it so I could remember what Ray Loita's character's name was.
posted by octothorpe at 8:59 AM on July 4, 2021

I dunno how good it would look on the big screen, that fisheye thing drove me absolutely crazy on my 65in. I thought something was wrong with the compression or something.
posted by M Edward at 9:26 AM on July 4, 2021 [3 favorites]

Spoilers below.

What is the value of the document for Naismith? If the Big 4 are trying to suppress the technology, Studebaker would also just sit on it, for the same reasons. Making somewhat cleaner cars wouldn’t save them, since environmental impact from cars wasn’t a concern for consumers in the 50s.

Why does Vanessa let the cop walk off with the suitcase from her car? She has a gun, is not afraid to use it, he’s alone, and she’d have a new getaway car.

I took notes to keep names and such straight, but probably missed a lot in doing so.
posted by sageleaf at 12:32 PM on July 4, 2021

I get that the fisheye lens helps us share the queasy disorientation of the characters, but I don’t think it’s desirable to empathize with them quite this much. I’m not sure this film would even be watchable on a large screen; I’d have probably gotten motion-sick.
posted by Mr. Excellent at 8:40 PM on July 5, 2021

sageleaf: I can't say that I followed everything going on here, but I believe that the document would have value to Naismith inasmuch as it proves awareness of automobile pollutants among the Big Four, and conspiracy between them to keep it quiet. For Studebaker-Packard, being on the outside looking in and very much starved out by the Big Four, that's a valuable document indeed even if they don't know what exactly what leverage they'll try to get from it.

As for Vanessa, when she's out in the middle of nowhere with Ronald and a bag full of cash, that seems like a pretty safe murder. Killing a cop who was clearly looking for her out there is different - more cops would presumably follow, and there was the implication that this one was letting her off the hook for two homicides (half of the murders in the movie, if I'm counting correctly, right? Charley, Doug, Frank and Ronald?)
posted by Navelgazer at 6:54 PM on July 7, 2021 [1 favorite]

The fisheye stuff was horrible, a huge blight on any attempt at enjoying the film visually for me.

I followed the plot mostly okay, but the motivations and leaps of logic seemed pretty inscrutable at times.

This movie like... has no joy. It fails to shine; it feels kinda uninspired, unenthusiastic. I think it's not that the plot is too complex, it's that it's not engaging.
posted by fleacircus at 12:12 AM on July 14, 2021

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