The Underneath (1995)

Genres - Crime  |   Sub-Genres - Post-Noir (Modern Noir), Caper  |   Release Date - Apr 28, 1995 (USA - Unknown)  |   Run Time - 99 min.  |   Countries - United States   |   MPAA Rating - R
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Awash in deceit, obsession, and opaque color schemes, Steven Soderbergh's loose adaptation of the 1948 noir classic Criss Cross ranks as one of the director's most ambitious projects, if not his most successful. Though the performers are stellar all around -- including a misanthropic Peter Gallagher, the always menacing William Fichtner, and a pre-Leaving Las Vegas Elisabeth Shue -- only the luminous newcomer Alison Elliot manages to generate any sort of audience sympathy. As the plot twists pile up, Soderbergh exhibits an impressive control of suspense, pacing, and tension, but the film remains curiously cold and distant. This is bank robbery as an escape from existential malaise; quite a different attitude from Soderbergh's loose, buoyant, and altogether superior take on crime just three years later, 1998's Out of Sight.