“No Sudden Move,” a new Steven Soderbergh film starring Don Cheadle and Benicio del Toro and now playing on Crave, is a film noir that gets lost in its knotty plot, but is kept on track by a top-notch cast.
Set in 1954 Detroit, the action begins with Jones, a shady character played by Brendan Fraser, recruiting three low level criminals, Curt (Cheadle), Ronald (del Toro) and Charley (Kieran Culkin), for a job that pays too much to be as easy as he says it will be. They all agree, just so long as someone named Frank (Ray Liotta) won’t be involved.
Their job is to invade General Motors accountant Matt Wertz’s (David Harbour) home, keep his family quiet for an hour while he retrieves a document from his boss’s safe.
Sounds simple, but this is Detroit in 1954. Industrial espionage between the Big Three car companies is a dangerous game, and, of course, Frank is involved. “Everybody has a problem with Frank these days.”
As things spin out of control, greed kicks in and the fast cash the small-time criminals hoped to make causes big time problems.
Soderbergh immerses his characters and the viewer in a world that where secrets propel the action. No one is who they seem and motives are even murkier. It makes for a twisty-turny story that is part crime story, part social history of the spark that ignited the slow decline of Detroit.
To add to the disorientation, Soderbergh shoots the action through a fish eye lens that blurs the edges of the screen, mimicking the script’s moral fog.
“No Sudden Move” almost bites off more than it can chew. It’s occasionally clunky, with too many double-crosses and characters vying for screen time, but the star-studded cast cuts through the script’s noise with ease. The result is a caper that flier by, buoyed by surprises (including a big-name uncredited cameo), snappy dialogue and a great debt to Elmore Leonard.