Shot entirely in Detroit, "No Sudden Move" is a fun, throwback crime caper. And it's not a gimmick or arbitrary that the movie takes place in the Motor City...in fact, this is one story that really couldn't have taken place anywhere else.
"No Sudden Move" was supposed to shoot back in April of 2020, but the pandemic had other plans. The delay (it eventually shot in September 2020) caused a bunch of big names to drop out due to scheduling conflicts: George Clooney, Sebastian Stan and John Cena were originally set to star. Even still, the movie is packed with an all-star cast, with Don Cheadle, Benicio Del Toro, David Harbour, Jon Hamm, Ray Liotta, Julia Fox, Bill Duke, Kieran Culkin, Brendan Fraser and Matt Damon taking part in Soderbergh's best film in years.
It's 1950s Detroit, and the opening tracking shot of gangster Curt Goynes (Cheadle) sets the stage, with the city on full display behind him. His character is hired for a curious job, along with two other thugs, Ronald (Del Toro) and Charley (Culkin), by a low-level mobster, Doug Jones (where have you been Brendan Fraser?): The trio are simply asked to babysit a family while the family's patriarch, an accountant (Harbour), is forced to go to his place of work and steal an important document from his boss's safe. But things go sideways, and everyone wants in on the take.
"No Sudden Move" feels authentic, and is full of twists and turns. Soderbergh also slyly works in other important themes like how "urban development" in Detroit (and many other urban areas) really was about the destruction of black communities and racial segregation. But it's also one of those slick crime movies, where everyone is a low-life, everybody is out for themselves, and you just know that things can't possibly end well for any of the participants. Soderbergh seems to also want to drive home the idea that the system itself is not only rigged but inevitable...the ones that set the rules rarely pay the price.
It seems to be missing "that something" - a bit of dialogue, a super-memorable performance, etc - that prevents it from feeling like a great movie. But especially for Detroiters, who aren't used to seeing their hometown represented so predominantly, "No Sudden Move" will feel like a welcome shot-in-the-arm compared to the barrage of films we're used to seeing from the coasts.
Genre: Crime, Drama, Mystery.
Run Time: 1 hour 55 minutes.
Starring: Don Cheadle, Benicio Del Toro, David Harbour, Jon Hamm, Brendan Fraser, Julia Fox, Noah Jupe, Lucy Holt, Craig muMs Grant, Frankie Shaw.
Directed by Steven Soderbergh ("Let Them All Talk," "The Laundromat," "High Flying Bird," "Magic Mike," "Contagion," "Ocean's Thirteen," "Ocean's Twelve," "Ocean's Eleven," "Traffic," "Erin Brokovich").
"No Sudden Move" is in theaters and on HBO Max on Thursday, July 1st, 2021.
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