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Steven Soderbergh

Directed by: Steven Soderbergh
(Magnolia Pictures/2929 Entertainment)
You may have heard about the controversy around Bubble—that it was an experiment, of sorts, released on DVD and in theatres on the same day. The merits of messing with movie distribution aside, what’s curious is they chose to do it with a project that will attract at best a cult audience. The plot is simple: Martha and Kyle are friends who work at a doll-making factory, when, one day, Rose (Misty Wilkins) starts work at the factory, precipitating change in a place that seems utterly unchangeable. It couldn’t be more perversely mundane, and yet terrifyingly claustrophobic, about as far from material such as Ocean’s 11 as one could imagine coming from the same filmmaker. In the mode of Gus Van Sant’s Elephant, but with less visual poetry, this is a Soderbergh in a vicious anti-glamour mode. Pointless? Maybe, but it’s hard to deny the perfect marriage of script, location and casting. The filmmakers found a small group of non-actors from the West Virginia town in which they shot the picture, including Wilkins, Dustin Ashley as Kyle and Debbie Doebereiner, a fast-food manager in real life, in the key role of Martha. The DVD bonus features include revealing documentaries with the cast as well as a commentary, which helps make sense of Soderbergh’s peculiar interests.
—Carsten Knox

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Vol 27, No 20
October 10, 2019

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