The Underneath - Movie Reviews - Rotten Tomatoes

The Underneath Reviews

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blkbomb
Super Reviewer
October 20, 2011
Ed Dutton: Michael, when you get to be my age you realize that sometimes the planets just don't line up. And there's nothing you can do about it. 

"For passion, betrayal and murder... there's still no place like home."

First off, I haven't seen Criss Cross, so I'm judging this movie based only on itself. It's definitely my least favorite film from Soderbergh. The acting is bad and the dialogue is also horrible. Peter Gallagher, while by no means a terrible actor, just can't hold a movie like this up by himself. William Fitchner is good in his role, but it is still to small to make the movie any better for it. The worst acting comes from two women though, Elizabeth Shue and Alison Elliot. They made ever scene that they were in unbearable to watch.

Michael returns home because his mom is getting remarried. His new stepdad offers to help him get a job as an armored truck driver. It is pretty obvious what is going to happen from here. He's going to try to pull off a robbery. Along the way, he tries to rekindle his relationship with his ex-wife, who is now married to a crook.

The only saving grace in this film, is Soderbergh's cool little tricks that you see in all his movies. In the end, it isn't enough to save an overall worthless film. The movie meanders on at an amazingly boring rate for an hour and then decides to speed up for the last thirty. Then the plot gets all twisty and it just doesn't work. I didn't buy the ending at all.

Still, it's worth a look if you are a Soderbergh fan. If not, this definitely isn't going to make you one. It would probably just turn you against him more.
nuheart
Super Reviewer
December 26, 2006
A not-so-bad remake of an excellent film noir. If you're a Soderbergh fan, it might do something for you, but if not, seek out the original, Criss Cross.
Super Reviewer
July 9, 2008
Solid Film Noir from Soderbergh, using some unique camera techniques.
½ September 6, 2013
Another movie that everyone in the world seems to hate, except me. This remake of the classic 1949 Burt Lancaster crime film Criss Cross updates the action to present-day Austin, Texas. Michael (Peter Gallagher), an amiable but untrustworthy gambler and reprobate, returns after many years away to see his middle-aged mom marry nice-guy Ed (Tom Dooley). Before long, he decides to stay in town, get a job at an armored car company with his soon-to-be stepdad, and tries to rekindle his romance with Rachel (Alison Elliott), the lover he ran out on years before to escape his gambling debts. But she's married to low-level gangster Tommy (William Fichtner), and still harbors some understandable resentment against Michael. Meanwhile, Michael's cop brother David (Adam Trese) keeps an eye on his older sibling, knowing how he tends to attract trouble. One thing leads to another, as these things happen in film noir, and before long Michael finds himself in the tightest spot he's ever been in. While not flawless, The Underneath benefits from a gorgeous visual style, an interesting narrative structure (prominently featuring flashbacks and flash-forwards), an excellent cast (also including Joe Don Baker and Shelley Duvall in bit roles), and just an all-around excellent sense of atmosphere. That's why I'm puzzled by the widespread disdain for it; even Soderbergh claims to hate this film. I think it's among the better neo-noir films to come out in the 1990s, and while it isn't quite on the level of, say, The Coen Brothers, I think it's one of Soderbergh's most interesting and underrated films.
½ February 5, 2012
alison elliott rules in this, fuck all those that said she sucks. anyway, i bought this for 50 cents and it surprised me in a good way - a modern film noir, with some real emotions here and there. I had zero expectations and it's not a bad film.

See Criss Cross, for sure.
½ April 22, 2011
Overwrought, Southern Gothic nonsense from Steven Soderbergh. The characters here are all completely disposable in an unending series of double crosses upon double crosses. Soderbergh was obviously embarrassed by this silliness as he used a pseudonym for his screenwriting credit.
March 30, 2009
Very stylish and decently engaging. I do think that it's a little too clever for its own good, and the ending was a head-scratcher to me.
August 3, 2008
A Soderbergh-directed remake of CRISS CROSS!! Set in TEXAS!! But nobody says it's impossible to rob an armored car?? BLASPHEMY!!
½ May 10, 2008
Wow, this film gets some harsh words. The plot is old hat and the set-up too long, but once it's on, it's on. I'd like to highlight the non-linear structure which, for once, SUITS A MOVIE. It is an excellent way to get the audience to empathize with this sleazy character.
June 5, 2007
Remake of the classic noir film "Criss Cross" with Peter Gallagher in the Burt Lancaster choice (an odd decision indeed). Surprisingly, the film is rather effective and actually doesn't insult its source material, which is indeed a rare quality within remakes. Even though the film pails in comparison to the original, it does manages to integrate some of its own ideas into the film, such as dealing with possible issues of homsexuality within characters, strains within the family dynamic, and psychological torment from unresolved issues. It's not as clear and focused as the original, but it is indeed an intelligent thriller with solid performances, hypnotic direction from Soderbergh, and a moody and existentialistic atmosphere... it's heck of a lot better than thrillers currently making its way into mainstream theaters.
½ August 19, 2007
Besides Full Frontal this is probably my least favorite Soderbergh movie. I'm not sure what he gained by chopping the plot up instead of telling the story in a more linear fashion. Alison Elliott's role felt way underwritten although William Fichtner and Adam Trese are effective as the baddie/jealous boyfriend and baddie/jealous brother respectively. Obviously this wouldhave been a much better movie in French.
November 6, 2006
Steven Sodersberg's expertise direction makes this film work, good cast, fine score, suspenseful and interesting. Nicely written.
½ April 16, 2005
Well, this should do it. I don't think I forgot anything. Thank god I didn't decide to do these one review at a time. 19 full length reviews in one night is a bit much to ask. Anyway, I'll hopefully have more time to post now and won't get behind like this again.
[b]
NIGHT AND THE CITY[/b]

I just don't like Richard Widmark. That's the tough part about enjoying a film like this. I don't like his acting style. He's over-the-top, but not in a charming, Heston kind of way and it bothers me. Aside from that the film was entertaining, but nothing special. This could be another case of high expectations, since the only other Jules Dassin film I've seen is [i]Rififi[/i], the best film noir I've had the pleasure of seeing, but I don't think so. I just think this was a decent film that became less decent by an annoying lead.

[b]THE CORPORATION

[/b]Equal parts interesting and scary, this is a documentary that everyone should see. I had issues with the length, but it's understandable considering how much footage they had after finishing shooting. To trim it down to 2 1/2 hours is pretty remarkable. Still, parts dragged a bit, but when it was at it's best it was jaw-dropping. It certainly instilled a more urgent sense of fear for our country's future, though I'm not sure that's such a good thing.

[b]THE UNDERNEATH

[/b]This film couldn't have had a more apt title. I say that because underneath the surface of this film was the Soderberg I've come to know and love. He was peeking out at me as if to say "Cut me some slack, I was still learning". The first hour of this film is sluggish at best, nap-enducing at worst. It also falls into that territory of having no likable characters. In a neo-noir, that's usually not a problem, but Soderberg spent a lot of time setting up the characters as if he wanted the audience to get to know them and get behind them. I couldn't do it, and the film suffered. It had some nice moments, but overall was completely forgettable.
[b]
THE WOODSMAN

[/b]I'll get this out of the way right off the bat. Yes, Kevin Bacon is amazing in this film. Yes, he deserves all the credit and probably should have been nominated for an Oscar. That said, the film didn't live up to his performance. It reeked of rookie outing and had some glaring flaws that I couldn't look beyond. The first was Candy, who played a very convenient role. The second was the style, which felt very amateur. The third was hiring Eve, who had a simple role that most anyone could have played. Her presence was unnecessary and distracting. She wasn't all that great either. The fourth was the beginning of Bacon and Sedgewick's relationship, which I thought could have been handled a bit better, and would have been more believable. It had some powerful moments, especially Bacon's conversation with Robin in the park at the end of the film. That was spectacular. Overall though I was underwhelmed and was left wondering what could have been.
October 19, 2014
Fantastic Film. One of Soderbergh's Best along with The Limey, Traffic and Side Effects.
½ September 6, 2013
Another movie that everyone in the world seems to hate, except me. This remake of the classic 1949 Burt Lancaster crime film Criss Cross updates the action to present-day Austin, Texas. Michael (Peter Gallagher), an amiable but untrustworthy gambler and reprobate, returns after many years away to see his middle-aged mom marry nice-guy Ed (Tom Dooley). Before long, he decides to stay in town, get a job at an armored car company with his soon-to-be stepdad, and tries to rekindle his romance with Rachel (Alison Elliott), the lover he ran out on years before to escape his gambling debts. But she's married to low-level gangster Tommy (William Fichtner), and still harbors some understandable resentment against Michael. Meanwhile, Michael's cop brother David (Adam Trese) keeps an eye on his older sibling, knowing how he tends to attract trouble. One thing leads to another, as these things happen in film noir, and before long Michael finds himself in the tightest spot he's ever been in. While not flawless, The Underneath benefits from a gorgeous visual style, an interesting narrative structure (prominently featuring flashbacks and flash-forwards), an excellent cast (also including Joe Don Baker and Shelley Duvall in bit roles), and just an all-around excellent sense of atmosphere. That's why I'm puzzled by the widespread disdain for it; even Soderbergh claims to hate this film. I think it's among the better neo-noir films to come out in the 1990s, and while it isn't quite on the level of, say, The Coen Brothers, I think it's one of Soderbergh's most interesting and underrated films.
½ September 17, 2013
A chaotic film noir that offered an unengaged and plodding dialog.

17/9/2013
½ July 5, 2007
Wow! Steven Soderbergh is so prolific! Like many of his movies, this was decent but not great.
½ March 13, 2013
Very boring and unrealistic.
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