Bubble (USA, director Steven Soderbergh): Not quite sure how to write about this one. Bubble feels like a bit of an exercise for Soderbergh. First of all, it was shot in HD (high-definition) digital video, and this makes the visuals incredibly crisp. Secondly, it was filmed on location in a small Ohio town with a completely amateur cast. The script felt mostly improvised or situational, and actual dialogue is quite sparse.
This is a small and quiet film in which large themes play out over 90 minutes. The pace is very deliberate, and the atmosphere incredibly claustrophobic. The overriding theme for me seemed to be isolation and it was almost physically painful watching some of the characters go about their daily routines or listening to them try to connect with each other. These are people who seem completely inarticulate and unable to express their feelings. There is a sort of love triangle, and a murder, but that’s about all I can say.
Though the mannered acting and slow pace threw me off at first, once I got used to it, I appreciated the film a lot more. This is one of Soderbergh’s more experimental films, and he admitted after the screening that it would be “polarizing” for audiences. While the film is not entirely successful, I’m glad a director of his stature is still taking risks.