Steven Soderbergh is most likely barely a third of the way through his esteemed career. His latest film, Haywire starring Gina Carano, lands in theaters January 20 and is the first true action film in the Oscar winner’s career. What better time to look back at his esteemed body of work that spans over two decades and give you Movie Fanatic’s Top 10 Films of Steven Soderbergh?
10. The Limey
Terrance Stamp stars as an Irishman who heads to Los Angeles with one purpose: To avenge the murder of his daughter. Peter Fonda plays the record executive who Stamp believes murdered (or at least accidentally killed) his child. And Stamp’s character’s sole mission is to destroy the man who took his daughter’s life. Stamp shines and Fonda is riveting in what also is a mystery as the audience is not so sure that Fonda is guilty. Watch The Limey and decide for yourself!
9. The Good German
George Clooney stars in the 2006 drama that also features Cate Blanchett and Tobey Maguire. Clooney’s in post-World War II Berlin and his journalist character is drawn into a murder investigation. A powerful film shot in black and white that shows off Soderbergh’s talents as a filmmaker, regardless of color and subject matter.
Soderbergh’s first true action movie explodes and introduces the world to the powerhouse that is Gina Carano. Her character is a spy who has been double-crossed and put within an inch of her life. Possessing a masterful soundtrack, killer action sequences and an all-star cast including Michael Douglas, Antonio Banderas, Ewan McGregor and Michael Fassbender, when Haywire arrives January 20, don’t miss it.
7. Sex, Lies and Videotape
One of Soderbergh’s first films is the one that put him on the map. Sex, Lies and Videotape is often imitated and rarely duplicated. The film features one of the best performances by Andie MacDowell and James Spader in their careers.
The tagline for Contagion says it all: Nothing spreads like fear. An international epidemic threatens the human race’s entire existence and in the hands of Soderbergh a virus movie has never felt so thrilling. Again, the master director gets an all-star cast including Jude Law, Matt Damon, Gwyneth Paltrow, Kate Winslet and Laurence Fishburne.
5. The Informant
Frequent collaborator Matt Damon stars in Soderbergh’s hilarious film about corporate espionage. You know, it seems the filmmaker can tackle any subject matter in any genre and put his unique stamp on it. The Informant proves that in droves. Not that many have seen the film and for movie fans in general, this is one to put in the Netflix queue.
4. Out of Sight
Sexy and thrilling, Soderbergh once again gets the performance of a lifetime out of one of his stars. Jennifer Lopez has never been better on screen and she smolders with her co-star George Clooney in the story of a group of ex-cons and their efforts to finish a job that could put them all in the catbird seat. Come to think of it, Dennis Farina, as Lopez’s father, has never been better than he was in Out of Sight. There again, actors elevate to the master’s cinematic brilliance.
3. Oceans 11
Many wondered why Soderbergh would remake the 1960s classic that starred the Rat Pack. History has shown that Oceans 11 would wind up one of the director’s best, starring George Clooney, Brad Pitt, Don Cheadle, Matt Damon, Casey Affleck, Scott Caan, Bernie Mac and Elliot Gould. What Soderbergh and his cast pulled off was one heck of a heist that goes down as one of the best heist movies of all time. Slick, thrilling and, in many ways, powerful, Oceans 11 is one masterful piece of work.
2. Erin Brockovich
The final two films in our Soderbergh top 10 had Oscar honor them as they went down in history as one of the medium’s best. The first, Erin Brockovich, gave Julia Roberts her first Academy Award. The film is a powerful and endearing story of a single mother who unearthed one of the biggest health scandals to rock Southern California in the last 30 years. In the hands of Soderbergh, what could have been a film mired in legal jargon was both a thriller and heartwarming tale of what one person can do, despite all the odds stacked against them.
Winner of three Academy Awards — including one for Soderbergh for directing — and nominated for Best Picture, Traffic is an ensemble piece of the highest order with a helmer working firmly in his wheelhouse. It is as relevant today as it was in 2000 when it arrived and painted a picture of the drug war gone wrong. An absolutely stunning piece of filmmaking that gets better every time you watch it.