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Does Soderbergh have a style?

Pro T-Bono · 13 · 3243

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Pro T-Bono

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on: January 12, 2004, 11:47:34 PM
I mean, clearly he is one of the better directors of this generation and seems to be leading the pack in some ways, kinda like Coppola back in the day.  But does he have a consistent style in the auteur sense of the word?  It strikes me that most of the director's on the main page can be likened to a specific style, whether that's manifested visually, through dialogue, subject matter, story, or whatever.  Soderbergh, for me at least, lacks a consistency in style.  Is diversity a style or lack of style?  If someone can argue that he does have a style, what distinguishes it?  I understand that I am using style with a certain liberty since it's such a broad word.  Comments...

All apologies if this is an age-old topic...
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Reply #1 on: January 12, 2004, 11:58:28 PM
i was watching Full Frontal last nite, and couldn't believe it's the same dude who made Ocean's 11. i think he said on one of the interviews on the dvd, that he always lets the material dictate the style. whereas other auteurs hav one way of looking at a story, and are consistent with it throughout their careers, often telling the same story over and over. just look at Wes Anderson, that dude is obsessed with the centre of his frame.

i'd still call him auteur tho, cos in each case he still has an original vision and gets what he wants.
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Reply #2 on: January 12, 2004, 11:59:57 PM
Diversity is a lack of style, but it can also be a boon, because he's not typecast into a certain style of film.  I haven't seen nearly enough of his films to judge, but they're on my list.  I've heard sex, lies, and videotape, a favorite of mine, is the best it gets.  If so, that's not too bad, but still, I hope for more.  What's so exciting about him, though, is the fact that he can keep churning films out at the rate he's been going, even if some aren't as good as others.  Still, I doubt eight of his films are as good as PTA's four films.  What that means is up for anyone to decide.


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Reply #3 on: January 13, 2004, 01:03:16 AM
he's got the perfect hollywood style, which is in essence no style at all.  he's mastered it, and don't get me wrong i like his films but i'm always searching for something more.  he needs to extend the boundries and try to make some films that arn't so bookended.

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Reply #4 on: January 13, 2004, 11:10:57 AM
I'd say he's got the style of "Responsible Hand-held".
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Reply #5 on: January 14, 2004, 09:58:21 AM
Good point, and one which always comes up in decent anti-auteur discussions...

In Steven Soderbergh Interviews, Anthony Kaufman remarks in his introduction that "nearly every interview touches on Soderbergh's unpredictability and eclecticism. As early as 1993, Soderbergh is certain that he is not one of Andrew Sarris's auteurs, but a much more conventional storyteller, uninterested in imposing a "style" on to the stories he directs. "A Huston or a Hawks was never fashionable, and they expressed themselves through a variety of genres," he explains in an interview in Positif. "I'm not a visionary artist; sometimes I would like to be, but I don't belong to that category of filmmakers like Kubrick, Altman, or Fellini... I am not trying to impose my style."


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Reply #6 on: January 14, 2004, 12:03:17 PM
i dunno, i think he's being a little modest.

visually i think there's definitely a soderbergh style. it's just not as easily identifiable as, say, scorsese's.


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Reply #7 on: January 14, 2004, 08:14:43 PM
i'd say soderbergh's style would be.......excellence  :)

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Reply #8 on: May 01, 2004, 03:57:10 AM
Oh, I don't know...personally, I think you can pick a Soderbergh film as easily as you can pick one by Scorsese or Altman. His "style," be it at either its most or least obvious, is always fairly recognisable. It was one of the things I noticed the most about Ocean's 11. I couldn't get over the fact rhat this big, flashy blockbuster had the same stylistic "feel" as Traffic, which was so completely different it most every other way. Just look at, for example, the scene in which Julia Roberts stands in the art gallery, looking at the painting. Or, later, when everyone watches the demolition of one of the old casinos [or at least, everyone except Clooney]. Stylistically, these scenes, among others, would have been just as home in The Limey, Traffic or Out of Sight as they would have been in Ocean's 11. Erin Brockovich is a stylistic sister project to Traffic, which fits in nicely with the hand-held aesthetic of Full Frontal, which in turn, can even be felt in Solaris [or at least, what I've seen of it].

So, yeah. Despite all this, the style that I'm talking about really defies definition. Unless I was to say, you know, something like "borderline guerilla". Visually, I mean.
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Reply #9 on: May 01, 2004, 10:12:20 PM
Quote from: SoNowThen
I'd say he's got the style of "Responsible Hand-held".

agree........when i think of soderbergh..i think of handheld and george cloony


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Reply #10 on: May 02, 2004, 12:05:59 AM
Quote from: İbrad
i dunno, i think he's being a little modest.

visually i think there's definitely a soderbergh style. it's just not as easily identifiable as, say, scorsese's.

Could you elaborate?
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Reply #11 on: April 15, 2005, 09:39:02 AM
dont forget how the dialogue from one scene will overlap into another scene.
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Reply #12 on: April 15, 2005, 12:29:12 PM
I think him more of an actor with the films he directs. He's definitely trying to attain a variety to his film catalogue and with going from Out Of Sight to Traffic, Ocean's Eleven and then Solaris, I see some very specific film styles he's trying to capture. Out of Sight is the ode to 70s commercial filmmaking; Traffic to political thrillers like Z and Battle of Algiers; Ocean's Eleven is modern commercialism and finally Solaris to obviously Andrei Tarkovsky, but also Kubrick and Antonioni with their concentration on the image to tell the story. I think Ang Lee was pretty successful in changing styles to fit the story through out the 90s. If there is one hallmark that does touch Soderbergh's career, it is his use of the hand held camera. He gets that across with just about every film he does and I think really the only thing that is his main stay with filmmaking.