lnp3 at panix.com
Sun Feb 4 11:14:43 MST 2007
In September 2005, Stephen Soderberghs Bubble
premiered simultaneously in theaters, and on DVD
and cable. I didnt pay much attention to the
film at the time except to take notice that much
of the action takes place in a doll factory.
Soderbergh is well-known for glitzy
entertainments like Oceans 11? but he has also
made some important films such as Good Night and
Good Luck that dramatized the confrontation
between Edward R. Murrow and Joe McCarthy, which
was understood as a critique of how the media
failed to challenge Bushs war in Iraq. Even when
he has been less than successful with films such
as Syriana, you have to give him credit for
tackling big issues. I imagine that something
like Oceans 11? constitutes his day job and
most of his passion is directed toward offbeat works such as Bubble.
It is also worth mentioning that Bubble was
produced by HDNET, the cable TV company run by
Mark Cuban, who also owns the Dallas Mavericks.
Before HDNET got into the production business,
Cuban co-produced Good Night and Good Luck.
Clearly he has an interest in how news is
produced. Besides Bubble, HDNET was responsible
for Enron: The Smartest Guys in the Room and
The War Within, which was about the planning of
a terrorist attack in New York by a Pakistani.
The War Within generated a lot of controversy
because it was deemed far too sympathetic to the main character.
I finally got around to watching Bubble last
night, courtesy of a screener from Magnolia, a
distribution company for edgy, independent films.
Although it has problems, it is certainly worth
renting. It is one of the few moviesand perhaps
the only onethat I have ever seen about the
working poor in the USA and specifically white
workers. It is an unsparing look at factory
workers whose wages are just above the minimum
wage, cant afford automobiles, shop at Walmart
and eat McDonalds. As part of his commitment to
authenticity, Soderbergh filmed on location in
southern Ohio and at the Lee Middleton Original
Dolls factory in Belpre. This is a typical
non-unionized small shop that workers are
increasingly forced to seek out nowadays as big
steel, auto and mining jobs disappear.
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