|'Two years before O Brother, Where Art Thou, Stephen Soderbergh recognised the potential of putting George Clooney in a Coen Brothers film and made Out Of Sight'|
Two years before O Brother, Where Art Thou, Stephen Soderbergh recognised the potential of putting George Clooney in a Coen Brothers film and made Out Of Sight, which is, essentially a Coen Brothers film.
The bitter-sweet romance between Jack Foley (George Clooney) and Karen Sisco (Jennifer Lopez, never better than here), the gruff wizened character who knows everything ('Marshall Sisco, Karen's Dad'), the bouts of violence, the smart script; the only way this could be more Coen is if John Goodman popped up and called everyone nihilists.
Perhaps the only one of those mix of elements that Soderbergh doesn't quite manage to pull of, in yet another of his films that should show everyone how much of a talent his retirement means we have lost, is the violence. It starts with a woozy trip to a house with Snoop (Don Cheadle, still far enough away from 'serious' roles here to get away with playing a wannabe gangster), Kenneth (Isaiah Washington) and Glenn (Steve Zahn), and builds up to a nasty, fraught conversation between Kenneth and Karen, laced with menace, and the finale. Somehow though, the innocence of the opening, where Jack and Buddy (Ving Rhames) bundle a shotgun-wielding Karen into a car boot with littler bother, doesn't tie.
There are though plenty of elements of the Soderberg-to-come that make this a classic. The bizarre elevator music soundtrack from David Holmes seems out of place to begin with, but then starts to work beautifully with Clooney's dandyish caper-con, the dysfunction of almost everyone and the overt comedy morons, such as Luiz Guzman and, again, Mr Sisco (Dennis Farina), whose brief conversation with Ray (Michael Keaton - have you started to notice the cast yet?) is absolutely wonderful. The pastel tint to individual scenes isn't quite there yet, but Miami is a noticeable faded yellow and Detroit a predictable blue.
The cast peaks, save a final-scene cameo, when you notice that that's Albert Brooks, behind a non-threatening wig/bald head and that the gangster's moll who opens the door is Oscar-nominee Viola Davis. The story though, keeps rolling, Soderbergh a complete master of dipping in to and out of quite how Jack, Buddy, Snoop and Karen got here and what they are going to do now that they have arrived. Like other Soderbergh films, both the journey and the destination prove equally enjoyable.
Out Of Sight is available on Sky's on demand services.