The Underneath

Critics Consensus

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Total Count: 22


Audience Score

User Ratings: 1,448
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Movie Info

Director Steven Soderbergh jazzes up the 1949 Burt Lancaster film noir classic Criss Cross with elaborate flashbacks (and flash-forwards) in this tale of a collection of losers involved in an armored car robbery. Peter Gallagher stars as Michael Chambers, a man whose obsession with gambling ruined his marriage and drove him away from his home town of Austin, Texas. He returns to town to attend the wedding of his mother (Anjanette Comer) to Ed Dutton (Paul Dooley), a genial security guard who works for an armored car company. No one is very happy to see Michael return -- his brother David (Adam Trese), now a local cop, hates his guts; his ex-wife Rachel (Alison Elliott) feels no better about him. Michael wants Rachel back, but Rachel has a new lover, local nightclub owner Tommy Dundee (William Fichtner). Nevertheless, Michael hangs out at Tommy's bar to re-acquaint himself with Rachel. Gradually, Rachel warms up to him again and she invites him to spend the weekend with her. Unfortunately, Tommy is psychotically jealous and he suspects something is amiss. He follows Michael and Rachel to their rendezvous and bursts in on them. Michael, to diffuse a volatile situation, proposes an armored car heist with Tommy and Rachel. After that, the double-crossings and back-stabbings begin.


Peter Gallagher
as Michael Chambers
William Fichtner
as Tommy Dundee
Adam Trese
as David Chambers
Joe Don Baker
as Clay Hinkle
Paul Dooley
as Ed Dutton
Anjanette Comer
as Mrs. Chambers
Dennis Hill
as Guard (Tom)
Harry Goaz
as Guard (Casey)
Mark Feltch
as Guard (George)
Jules Sharp
as Hinkle's Assistant
Kenneth D. Harris
as Mantrap Guard
Vincent Gaskins
as Michael's Partner
Cliff Haby
as Turret Operator
Tonie Perensky
as Ember Waitress
Randall Brady
as Ember Bartender
Richard Linklater
as Ember Doorman
Helen Cates
as Susan's Friend
Kevin Crutchfield
as VIP Room Flunky
Brad Leland
as Man Delivering Money
John Martin
as Justice of the Peace
Rick Perkins
as TV Delivery Man No. 1
Paul Wright
as TV Delivery Man No. 2
Dave Jensen
as Satellite Dish Installer
Jordy Hultberg
as TV Sports Reporter
Steve Shearer
as Detective
Fred Ellis
as Detective's Partner
Joe Chrest
as Mr. Rodman
as Band No. 2
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Critic Reviews for The Underneath

All Critics (22) | Top Critics (10)

Audience Reviews for The Underneath

  • Oct 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.
    Melvin W Super Reviewer
  • Jul 09, 2008
    Solid Film Noir from Soderbergh, using some unique camera techniques.
    Anthony V Super Reviewer
  • Jan 02, 2008
    steven soderdberg, between his debut with sex lies and videotape and his studio movie out of sight 1989--1998, he seemed forgotton but was bring ing out interesting stuff, this being one of them, peter gallagher is a security guard,driver, living his day working a crummy job delivering other peoples money, so hatches a plan to just steal it,, soderdberg handles things well, a jumped up time frame keeps things interesting, its welldirected and a film of little budget, but this is where he is most at home, looking at his other films like traffic and the full frontal, youll know wat i mean, a great little crime caper, gallagher and it seems underused in hollywood, elizebeth shue, its no suprise after out of sight, soderdberg went down a level with the limey, although out of sight is a masterpiece, this and limey shows his true calling, little edgy indies, and if he wants to do a oceans eleven twelve or thirteen thats fine by me
    scott g Super Reviewer
  • Dec 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.
    Steve B Super Reviewer

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