Movie Review By Blue Velvet
Although Julia Roberts ranks as the notorious premiere bankable name in Hollywood, Steven Soderbergh's intelligent direction, an extremely capable supporting cast, and a sharply written script practically reinvent Julia's star persona in the new film, "Erin Brockovich."
Based on true events, "Erin Brockovich" follows a struggling single mom who uncovers a conspiracy which leads to the nation's largest direct-action lawsuit against a major coorperation. Julia Roberts stars as the no-nonsense Brockovich , a twice-divorced frizzy-haired former Miss Wichita now living in Los Angeles with her three kids. In her job as a filing clerk at a small law firm, she accidentally uncovers buried classified material which may prove why so many sicknesses like cancer have surfaced in a small Barstow town. Armed with a fabulous memory, feminine savvy, and unyielding blind determination, Brockovich wages a battle against corporate lawyers and their legalese.
Despite the obvious triumph at the end, Soderbergh steers the film away from digressing into a simple tale of the winning underdog. Soderbergh adds his own unique flair for story-telling which continually infuses each scene with just enough subtle mystery to keep viewers curious as to what will happen next. Another interesting twist is that Soderbergh actually disarms Julia's beauty and illustrates how she is seemingly at a disadvantage when practically every lawyer initially passes her off as a delirious ditz in a mini-skirt and leather tank top. Other plusses for the film include the terrific supporting roles play ed by Albert Finney and Aaron Eckhart who both nicely counter-balance Roberts' efficient performance. Also Ed Lachman, the cinematographer, shoots the film in a ethereal way which matches the artful tone set by director Soderbergh. Although the script written by Susannah Grant delivers choice wincing humor, it may be too brutally cruel for some to stomach.
The sheer fact that Roberts portrays the cussing spitfire heroine in "Erin Brockovich" may shock and scare off some Roberts' fans but will hopefully attract other admirers for her and everyone else who made this film so entertaining.
© 2000 - Blue Velvet - Air Date: 03/15/00
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