Film Reviews, Short Review

sex, lies, and videotape (1989)

3/4

Steven Soderbergh’s Palme d’or-winning debut probably wasn’t the best film in competition that year, though perhaps its success is more down to how out-of-nowhere the film came. A first-time director, working with then-largely unknown or ignored actors, coming out with a film that’s more than ok but actually rather good is always a nice surprise, but in a whirl of media hype it can often convince judges to prematurely label it a classic. Looking back on it, sex, lies, and videotape is like much of Soderbergh’s ensuing career: fine, well-crafted, but rarely truly brilliant, original or exciting. Its thematic concerns of sexual promiscuity and repression are well-handled, aided by intelligent performances and low-key but engaging cinematography, but ultimately it is a very good drama rather than anything particularly piercing.

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