A splendid reminder of just how assured, intelligent and involving Soderbergh's movies can be. Working from Scott Frank's exemplary adaptation of Elmore Leonard's novel, the director deftly mixes suspense, comedy and romance, and generates considerable erotic tension. Bank robber Clooney and ambitious federal marshal Lopez - whose first brush with each other comes when he holds her hostage in a car trunk while escaping from prison - circle one another irresistibly but warily, both knowing she'll put him away if she can. This evidently ill-starred relationship is the pulsating heart of the film, but there are more than enough subplots involving a host of vividly drawn characters to prevent the unlikely pair's courtship from becoming cute, obvious or overbearingly smart. All the performances are first rate, while the pace, wit and low key concern with questions of honour, professionalism and loyalty are wholly in keeping with Leonard's perky, deceptively effortless style. Most impressive, though, is how Soderbergh keeps every ingredient simmering enticingly while sacrificing none of his storytelling subtlety. The finest Leonard adaptation to date, and a rare example of a Hollywood film that's adult, ambitious and terrific entertainment.
Cast and crew
George Clooney Jennifer Lopez Ving Rhames Don Cheadle Dennis Farina Albert Brooks Steve Zahn Michael Keaton Samuel L Jackson