Wednesday, February 15, 2006

kinda pissed

I am bringing you a rejected review that i think has some legs. Keep in mind that the pub this was originally intended for has a staggeringly low word count for reviews, and also a staggeringly low opinion of its readers' intellect. Also keep in mind that this review is intended for those who love movies and would go to the theater even if their butts fell off. Since the publisher did not like the movie, my peice was cut. Enjoy!

Directed by Steven Soderburgh

Bubble shows what happens when a new person disturbs the unusual friendship of two lonely doll factory employees in a small Ohio town. Director Steven Soderburgh uses non-actors and unscripted scenes in this quiet experiment in simultaneous release to the DVD, cable and theater markets.

Martha (Debbie Doebereiner) and Kyle (Dustin James Ashley) work at a doll factory, airbrushing baby mouths and manning the plastic mold machines respectively. Each day begins with Martha driving up to Kyle’s trailer to pick him up, and driving him home or to a second job after work. He spends his evenings reading High Times and looking at the wall, while Martha cares for her aging father and sews doll clothes in front of the TV. Martha and Kyle bond over fast food lunches and after-work snacks. Each day is the same until a new employee, Rose (Misty Dan Wilkins), shows up at the doll factory, wooing Kyle in the first few days and earning Martha’s suspicion and hatred. We don’t know how deep Martha’s jealousy goes until a crime is committed, and Martha is faced with questions about passion, reality, and her true relationship to Kyle.

Doebereiner is an amazing find. She gives Martha a depth and subtlety that would be a challenge for even an experienced actor. Ashley is grunty and non-emotive as Kyle, but that seems to be what his role is about. He manages to portray Kyle as simple without making him stupid- a surprise in a movie made by Hollywood about small-town America. Wilkins has less of an impact as Rose, but plays her girl-on-the-make role decently. Later in the film, Decker Moody appears on the scene, and gives his part of the mild-tempered police inspector a quiet steel.

Even though Bubble is using gimmicky (if novel) marketing, the film itself is without pretension. It is short, with a running time of 73 minutes, but never feels rushed. Soderburgh weaves many eerie shots around the doll factory into the narrative, and eyes the hissing machines and doll parts warily. The repetitious nature of the factory in echoed in the characters’ lives, a heavy-handed theme, but Soderburgh has found enough nuance in this rapidly disappearing way of American life to craft a pretty, finely- tuned film.

Decker Moody! What a great name! Anyway, I am no fan of Soderburgh's but I thought this was fun to watch.

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