Steven Soderbergh

"Soderbergh brought an idiosyncratic touch to familiar genre material, striking an implicit détente between the art house and the mainstream, whereby aesthetic integrity and bottom-line exigencies meet halfway." - Jessica Winter (The Rough Guide to Film, 2007)

Steven Soderbergh

Director / Cinematographer / Editor / Screenwriter / Producer
(1963- ) Born January 14, Atlanta, Georgia, USA
21st Century's Top 50 Directors

Key Production Countries: USA, Australia
Key Genres: Drama, Crime, Caper, Comedy Drama, Ensemble Film, Comedy, Biopic, Action Thriller, Crime Comedy, Crime Drama, Docudrama, Mystery
Key Collaborators: Cliff Martinez (Composer), Gregory Jacobs (Producer), Matt Damon (Leading Character Actor), Philip Messina (Production Designer), George Clooney (Leading Actor), Stephen Mirrione (Editor), Howard Cummings (Production Designer), Don Cheadle (Character Actor), John Hardy (Producer), David Holmes (Composer), Elliott Gould (Character Actor), Michael Douglas (Leading Actor)

"Often regarded as the most independently minded director in Hollywood. Soderbergh began his career with a landmark of cinematic self-reflexivity, sex, lies, and videotape (1989), and every subsequent film has been, among other things, a meditation on the surface of the screen. Just as Soderbergh goes back and forth between independent filmmaking and Hollywood, shuttling from no-budget movies like Schizopolis (1996) to glamorous star vehicles like Out of Sight (1998), Soderbergh’s films circle back and forth between reality and artifice, refusing both Hollywood’s simulacrum and the naturalism of John Sayles." - Steven Dillon (The Solaris Effect: Art & Artifice in Contemporary American Film, 2006)
"In 1989, at the age of 26, Steven Soderbergh won the Palme d'Or for his debut feature, sex, lies and videotape. Overnight he came the darling of the US independent movie scene. However, since this early acclaim, Soderbergh has confounded both critics and public alike with his choice of material. Both idiosyncratic and diverse, Soderbergh's work is disparate and difficult to categorise, although he does tend to return to a recurring theme of a solitary individual seeking truth in a dishonest world of (self) deceit." - Peter Homden & Ian Haydn Smith (Contemporary North American Film Directors, 2002)
"Soderbergh was often compared to other young independent American filmmakers, notably Jim Jarmusch and Hal Hartley. However, his film style has turned out to be much less immediately identifiable than Hartley's in particular. Overall, one can say that in his best films, he tells stories in concise and polished ways, reminiscent of classic Hollywood models, yet with fresh, unusual structures and surprising turns from scene to scene; and his cinematography is usually superb, notably in framing and lighting, though always adaptive to the overall subject and mood." - Joseph Milicia (The St. James Film Directors Encyclopedia, 1998)
"A talented American director who, after years of initial struggle, was nominated for an Oscar with his first film, Sex, Lies and Videotape. That was a cult success all over the world, but since then Soderbergh has struggled to repeat its impact. Although he has done some good work, none of his ensuing films has caught the public imagination in the same way." - David Quinlan (Quinlan's Illustrated Guide to Film Directors, 1999)
“In a relatively short time Steven Soderbergh has emerged as an outstanding filmmaker, one who directs, photographs, and scripts his films. At age 26 he was the youngest director to win the Palme d’Or at the Cannes Film Festival for his movie sex, lies and videotape (1989). Though he has gone on to make some flops, they are outweighed by his box-office hits and critical successes.” - The Encyclopedia of Hollywood, 2004
"Soderbergh has revealed himself as chronically compromised. He may believe he is a central figure in the new, enlightened Hollywood, trying anything he can think of, while darting home for another Ocean’s payday. As the diary on sex, lies threatened, he can become far too cute with himself. The lofty aspiration of Traffic turned into the arty banalities of Che—a very pretty, bad film on an idea that doesn’t interest its maker. The Ocean’s films are shameful. I like The Informant. This is a monster in the making.” - David Thomson (The New Biographical Dictionary of Film, 2010)
"I look at other filmmakers and see skills in them that I wish I had but I know that I don't. I feel like I have to work really hard to keep myself afloat, doing what I do. But I find it pleasurable." - Steven Soderbergh
"It's pretty clear to me that working as a director for hire agrees with me. I like it. The films that have come out of that, I personally like better than the ones that didn't." - Steven Soderbergh
TSPDT Guide
Highly Recommended
The Underneath (1995), The Limey (1999), Bubble (2005)
Recommended
Out of Sight (1998), Erin Brockovich (2000) , Traffic (2000) , Solaris (2002), The Good German (2006)
Worth a Look
sex, lies, and videotape (1989), Kafka (1991), King of the Hill (1993), Schizopolis (1996), Ocean's Eleven (2001), Che (2008), The Informant! (2009), Contagion (2011), Haywire (2011), Magic Mike (2012), Side Effects (2013), Behind the Candelabra (2013)
Approach with Caution
Ocean's Twelve (2004), Ocean's Thirteen (2007)
Acclaimed Films / IMDB Filmography
1,000 Greatest Films 21st Century's Most Acclaimed Films
Steven Soderbergh / Favourite Films
All the President's Men (1976) Alan J. Pakula, Annie Hall (1977) Woody Allen, Citizen Kane (1941) Orson Welles, The Conversation (1974) Francis Ford Coppola, The 5,000 Fingers of Dr. T. (1953) Roy Rowland, The Godfather Parts I & II (1972-74) Francis Ford Coppola, Jaws (1975) Steven Spielberg, The Last Picture Show (1971) Peter Bogdanovich, Sunset Blvd. (1950) Billy Wilder, The Third Man (1949) Carol Reed.
Source: Miscellaneous (1989)
Amazon Products
Films / Books
    Behind the Candelabra
    comments powered by Disqus