Bubble

April 15th, 2008 DVD Reviews, Film, Xpress

Steven Soderbergh’s great experiment garnered more attention for the release strategy than the movie when he released Bubble on the same day to the cinema, DVD and cable TV.

The hand wringing that ensued appears to have vindicated the financial powers than be who thought it was a terrible idea as the film scraped back barely a tenth of it’s miniscule US$1.6m budget.

So all that’s left to talk about is the movie. It depicts motherish, middle-aged factory worker Martha, who leads a quiet Midwestern life and a quiet friendship with her young co-worker Kyle.

Until the turning point it seems like a documentary on Middle America — there’s no drama, no conflict and little story. The turning point comes when pretty young single mother Rose arrives to work at the doll factory that employs Martha and Kyle. Kyle smiles sheepishly at Rose, and Martha’s mistrustful sideways glance hints at the trouble brewing as the neat quiet of her life is suddenly threatened.

Things coast along, Rose pursuing a halting romantic interest in Kyle and Martha trying to be grown up about her jealousy, until Rose turns up murdered in her squalid apartment.

The resolution seems plain enough but is still only hinted at, while the commentary by Soderbergh and filmmaking pal Mark Romanek is more about the filmmaking and cinematographic technique than the story, which seems of only secondary interest to them. Well worth a look for the minimalist, no-nonsense approach to performance, staging and dialogue.


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