Dog’s Movie House: “No Sudden Move” has Soderbergh working magic with a terrific cast!

“No Sudden Move” starts with a trio of criminals recruited by a man named Doug Jones (an unrecognizable Brandon Fraser). These three are recent parolee Curt Goines (Don Cheadle), Ronald Russo (Benicio Del Toro), and a third man who simply goes by the name of Charley (Kieran Culkin). Their job: to retrieve an important document from a bank who employs one Matt Wertz (David Harbour). The idea is to have two of the men hold his family hostage while one escorts him to the bank to get said document. There is to be no violence and everything is supposed to go smoothly and easily. Of course, this being a Soderbergh heist film, nothing goes as planned. Wertz can’t get the document and he’s also having an affair with the boss’s secretary. Charley turns out to be in league with enemies of both Curt and Ronald and soom both of them are on the run trying to find out what the hell they’ve gotten themselves into, with Matt along for the ride.

To tell you any more would ruin the fun, but let’s just say the rest of the plot involves a couple of hard core gangsters (Ray Liotta, Bill Duke, always welcome), a conspiracy within the auto industry, a corrupt cop (Jon Hamm), and a powerful mover and shaker in Detroit (Matt Damon). I should also mention at this point that the movie is set in 1954 Detroit which was a time of great change for both the city and the people living in it.

I love period pieces when they are well done, and “No Sudden Move” is a wonderful slice of 1950’s culture. Detroit had yet to become the crime-infested, poverty-stricken metropolis it would morph into in later decades, but there are stirrings of it here especially among the non-white population. Soderbergh and screenwriter Ed Solomon don’t rub our faces in it, but it’s clear that there is something rotten in the State Of Denmark when it comes to racial equality. Thankfully it doesn’t dominate the narrative but only serves to enhance it.

The performances are uniformly wonderful. Cheadle is one of our most underrated actors and the generation who only sees him as War Machine in the Marvel films should get a load of him here. His Curt Goynes is a hustler to the nth degree, but Cheadle gives him a humanity that makes him and his situation relatable. He’s not a hero, but he’s definitely not the villain either. He’s matched by Del Toro who plays Russo as something of a milqtoast which is unusual for someone like Del Toro. Russo is a man who thinks he’s smarter than he is and his inability to see the whole picture often gets him into trouble. Del Toro pulls off the role with aplomb and comes off as probably the nicest of the bunch. Harbour is wonderful as the in-over-his head family man who may lose his family. Fraser’s a hoot to watch in a supporting role and Ham, Liotta, Culkin, and Damon all shine in their somewhat limited screen time. It’s also fun to see Bill Duke on screen again, imposing as ever with his massive frame and soft, yet intimidating voice.

The twists and turns in Solomon’s script aren’t of the “holy crap” variety, but they are enough to keep you guessing as to what is actually going on. Ad that to the wonderful performances, crackling direction, and wonderful period mood, “No Sudden Move” is a wonderfully adult thriller that will engage and entertain you! 4 Out Of 5 On Kendog’s Barkometer! So Sayeth The Kendog!

“No Sudden Move” is currently streaming on HBO Max!

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