Out of Sight

Out of Sight by Steven Soderbergh.is a film reminiscent of so many of
the brilliant products of the Coen brothers in that it is an excellent bit of
movie-making with absolutely nothing to say. It plays around with time sequence
like Pulp Fiction (only not so boldly) and fantasy and provides us with a
real post-modern couple, a federal marshal (Jennifer Lopez) and an escaped bank
robber (George Cloony) who fall in love talking about the movies while confined
together as hostage and hostage-taker in the trunk of a car. The situation is no
more improbable than Mr Clooney’s handsome, debonaire, glamorous convict, who is
patched together out of 1930s vintage movies (when was the last time you heard
about a real prison-break?) and a sentimentalized idea of criminality left over
from the hippie era. Compared to the grim and sordid reality of criminals and
prisoners today, such stuff seems somewhat less plausible than alien

Even more seriously, there is no overall theme or any sense of moral
coherence to any of it. Hence the film’s emphasis on the striking of chic, hip
attitudes and witty dialogue. Here are beautiful people doing cool things, and
what more, the once-serious young auteur Mr Soderbergh seems to ask, do you
need? There is a momentary flirtation with reality when Jack, the gentleman
bandit, asks “You know anyone who had one last big score and then went on to
live the good life?”. But the film fudges the realism by hinting (without
showing) that he himself does. In the end Miss Lopez does her duty in
re-capturing the escaped robber, but she puts him together with an alleged
escape artist (Samuel L. Jackson in a cameo), presumably in the hope that he
will soon be able to join her and his still-at-large accomplice (Ving Rhames)
who is keeping $5 million in diamonds-in-the-rough for him on the outside.

Of course, the point is that he is himself the real diamond-in-the-rough.
Neither his stealing the rocks from the fish-tank of a rich ex-con played by
Albert Brooks nor his subsequent hopeful prison-break looks so bad when you
consider that he was only captured because he insisted on preventing a rape.
Having thus established his feminist credentials, he must make a strong appeal
to the female fantasy of taming the male brute in his most unregenerate form.
Clearly there is something here to titillate the kinds of women who marry
death-row inmates and also, perhaps, those who marry lesser varieties of thug.
But even if Jennifer Lopez were not a federal marshal, she just wouldn’t look
the type.

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