Blog By K.

Focus: sex, lies and videotape (1989)

In Actor, Director, Film on 2011/04/22 at 11:42 am


Directed by: Steven Soderbergh

Written By: Steven Soderbergh

Why YOU should watch the film:


I say the word innovative, but probably shouldn’t use the term so lightly, since it’s so easy to get confused. What I mean is that this is the mother of all independent films, the one who originally brought indie films to a larger audience. An accidental happening? Perhaps. But even so, why this film lured in so many moviegoers is unquestionably because of its subtle yet irresistable story. One we can’t stop thinking about, with characters as memorable as they are forgettable. I know I’m getting all mixed up here, but here’s the deal: sex, lies and videotape tells us a story we’ve heard before: the overachieving husband. the neglected and beautiful wife. the exteriorally¬†ideal marriage. But then comes the turn: the husband is having an affair (not a spoiler folks, the film breaks it down to you pretty much instantly). his love interest is his wife’s plain-looking and carefree sister. Now, if this were like any other film it had focused entirely on the relationship between these two lovers, but this movie explores much further than that and focuses its attention (or at least WE do) on the wife and her encounter with an unknown man who is thought-provoking to the very least. He is played by James Spader who portrays the character equally subtle yet irresistable because after all – he’s not that interesting really. But then again…. why are we so intrigued by him? The answer is good acting and good writing. This film won the Palme d’Or in Cannes 1989 and Spader for best actor, and we can see why. With a director making his ground-breaking debut, having filmed a movie he had written in eight days, Soderbergh achieves something that every aspiring director wants with his or her first film, namely to tell a story that is ridiculous in its simplicity but also universal because of it. Throw in some sex and some lies and some videotapes (not pornographic in any way) and you’ll end up with one helluva film. Brilliant.


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