5. Out of Sight (1998)
Here’s another one of those unabashadly fun films that Soderbergh decided to make — with George Clooney doing his charasmatic quick witted thing we love so much — and it’s hard for anyone to truly hate it. Problems this movie has, but if you’re willing to look past a lot of those (mostly small and unaware problems) you will find a much filled satisfying set of characters and enjoyable movie. Even Jennifer Lopez comes off great in this one and that is difficult to accomplish.
4. Che: Part One (2008)
While I probably should lump part two along with this one it is glaringly obvious how much more well put together this film is (structurally) than it’s follow-up (Part Two), even though they are meant to be consumed together. The film takes us through the Cuban revolution as Che Guevara takes his militia through the country of Cuba in order to eventually put his partner, Fidel Castro, in power. For those of us who only watch CNN who put communism and Castro in as poor a light as possible this film shows how warranted and right the positioning of Castro at the top of the Cuban political world was.
3. The Limey (1999)
I started out this list with The Good German, the reason why I like that movie so much is for it’s noir tendencies. This film on the other hand is 100% neo-noir filmmaking. We get a true revenge tale with the likes of Terrence Stamp in the leading role which can never be a bad thing. Just remember to tell them I’m coming.
2. Kafka (1991)
One of the few genres that I’ve yet to discuss, as Soderbergh tends to dabble in them all, is science-fiction. Here he takes a try at creating the equivalent of a 50′s science-fiction film with Jeremy Irons playing the role of Kafka as he discovers some underworld dealings in his town as he works as an insurance agent during the day. The film is ripe with imagery and subtext that will litter the pages of Graduate students’ papers for decades to come, all I can pray for is a proper Blu Ray release to make me happy.
1. Traffic (2000)
I guess this is as obvious as obvious can be. Here’s the film that won him the Oscar for Best Directing and also won Best Picture itself. It’s interesting to see how he’s able to so simply segment these interconnecting stories and handle the eventual amalgamation, when applicable. It’s easy to see where his well put together large ensemble execution that I praised in Contagion came from when watching this film, but there’s no beating this one to be perfectly honest. Extra-points for introducing me to Luis Guzman, Don Cheadle, Topher Grace and Benecio Del Toro.