Steven Soderbergh's debut feature and '89 Cannes triumph still holds up as a sure-handed skit on language and desire. The languorous action centres on James Spader's Graham, an elusive thirtysomething who fetches up in the town of an old college buddy who's screwing his sexually repressed wife's sister, a sultry Laura San Giacomo. It's a mess. And, muddying the waters further, Graham's got a little video project on the go that brings many a skeleton stumbling out of the closet.
A smartly seductive slow-burner that's far wittier than it sounds, sex is a key-note in the late-'80s rise of performance-and-dialogue-driven American indies. More importantly, it still makes for fresh and vital viewing - which is perhaps why Soderbergh decided to go back to his roots with the upcoming Full Frontal.