‘No Sudden Move’ Gives Us Two Surprising, Delightful Performances

I watched Steven Soderbergh’s No Sudden Move. It was maybe the first movie of 2021 I was really excited for. At least, that’s the case off the top of my head. My only disappointment is that it was only on HBO Max. I was unable to go see it in a theater. Ultimately, I thought it was solidly a good movie, and it didn’t necessarily need that theater experience. Still, it would have been nice, though it was still nice to watch at home.

Soderbergh loves a heist film, though this may be his darkest heist movie. It’s a period piece as well, taking place in 1950s Detroit. Some of the plotting feels tacked on, and it’s a little muddled even by heist film standards, but I enjoyed it. Not as much as, say, Logan Lucky, but it’s a good film.

The strength of the movie is in the cast and the performances. Don Cheadle and Benicio Del Toro are the leads, a bit of a throwback to Traffic. They are both good. Ray Liotta is solid in a very Ray Liotta role. Amy Seimetz is both good and doing an accent that means she is either from another state or has a weird sense of what people from Michigan sound like. As somebody who grew up in the Detroit area, I did not recognize her accent as local.

There are two performances who stand out to me, though, mostly because they go against type. One is David Harbour. Personally, I have no recollection of Harbour before Stranger Things, though I know I saw him in stuff. I just didn’t notice him until Stranger Things. He’s great on that show, with bluster and bravado and some killer hair, complete with a mustache. In No Sudden Move, though, he’s clean shaven with a close-cropped hairdo. He wears a suit and is put together. Harbour plays a quiet man in way over his head. Basically, he plays the opposite of Hopper, but he’s quite good at it.

Benicio del Toro regresa al universo de Soderbergh en 'No Sudden Move' -  Los Angeles Times

Then there is Brendan Fraser. Fraser has become one of those people the internet loves for whatever reason. Hey, I’m not knocking Fraser. It’s just that the whole thing where the internet decides to collective adore somebody is a bit much. Nevertheless, Fraser was not really acting for a while. He’s only recently started dipping his toe into it again, and he’s a different performer now.

I said this on Twitter, but I did not expect Fraser to have a “Orson Welles in Touch of Evil” section to his career, but it seems to work for him. Fraser is imposing and intimidating as a heavy in No Sudden Move. He’s dangerous, but Fraser doesn’t go over the top as a performer. Once upon a time he was a matinee idol. Now he’s a character actor suited to play a villain.

If you like Soderbergh or heist movies you should definitely check out No Sudden Move. However, I’d also recommend it if you’d like to see Harbour and Fraser do something entirely different from Stranger Things or The Mummy.

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