“Out of Sight” (1998) dir. Steve Soderbergh

A lot of people consider director Steve Soderbergh’s comeback to be the double-punch of “Erin Brockovich” and “Traffic” in 2000.  I would argue his real comeback came with 1998’s “Out of Sight,” one of the best films of the 1990s and one of the best crime + comedy films ever made.

Based on Elmore Leonard’s stellar novel, Soderbergh and screenwriter Scott Frank took Tarantino’s corrosive and winning mix of black comedy and violence and finessed it into a fine jewel of a film.  Probably the most ingenious thing Frank and Soderbergh did was take Leonard’s extremely tense and grim finale and turn it into high comedy, while not changing a single event from the original narrative.  Seriously, this is pure genius, considering how grim Leondard’s original finale was.  George Clooney and Jennifer Lopez have never been better.  Don Cheadle, Albert Brooks, Luiz Guzman, Ving Rhames, Steve Zahn, Dennis Farina, and Michael Keaton all provide fantastic supporting performances.

If you’re in a rotten mood, please do yourself a favor and see “Out of Sight.”  There’s a good reason the National Society of Film Critics (America’s most prestigious critics awards) voted this Best Picture of 1998 (over “Saving Private Ryan” and “Shakespeare in Love”).   It’s seriously that f–king good!!

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2 thoughts on ““Out of Sight” (1998) dir. Steve Soderbergh

  1. I would rather watch this movie & “The Limey” than the two Soderbergh made in 2000. Around here it’s not just me who feels he threw his lot in with Clooney too quickly for the “Ocean’s” series & more. The two “Che” films are an achievement but 3 movies in 2011 ? I’m falling behind on his work. “Out of Sight” has depth, is assured, clever, sexy & funny. This & “The Way of the Gun” are the best of the post-Tarantino heist movies.
    Anyone who had seen “From Dusk Till Dawn” knew that Clooney was a star in the making. “Batman & Robin” & “One Fine Day” had hardly helped his case so he was not yet the box office draw he became.
    1998 was a pretty good year for film. “The Ring”, “Fear & Loathing”, “Lock, Stock…”, “Kurt & Courtney”. There are others, “BASEketball” struggles to make the Top 20 !

    • Agreed with everything you said … except … “BASEketball” ? That’s a bold choice. Then again, people look at me funny when I say I’m a fan of the John Candy comedy “Going Berserk.” I’ll need to check out “BASEketball” again.

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