Thursday, April 22, 2010

ERIN BROCKOVICH (Steven Soderbergh, 2000)

***½
USA

A superbly manufactured, very watchable bit of contemporary Capracorn, only with a bit of a void at its core. In terms of the lighting, the cutting, the dressing, it's hard to say what else Soderbergh could have done to compensate for the central bit of miscasting. Then again, maybe the film would have been easier to swallow if Soderbergh just acknowledged the Wonderbra-ed, saintly-superficial spectre at the centre instead of straining to rough it up and give it street cred.

Even if you get past the glamour-whore make-up and otherwise radiant complexion, you still have a voice - a pitch, a perpetually hammered note - that explicitly lacks the brassy, panicky resilience of a downtrodden yet fierce woman who has allegedly fucked up and persevered again and again. Unfortunately Julia only ever sounds like a rich person with an exasperated sense of entitlement.

It's still very possible to enjoy the film and the way strained-but-sassy Julia sticks it to the Man. But you'd probably take her more seriously if she didn't expend so much energy trying to be taken seriously.

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