|Channing Tatum, Magic Mike, Warner Bros., 2012.|
Slicing a seamy splice through modern American sexual mores and good ole Capitalism, great American director Steven Soderbergh eclipses himself.
Soderbergh tints every frame; his camera-work and palette are instantly recognizable; the washed out color scheme, the ellipses of movement and time. Not quite as cerebral as some of his work, due in large part to the well-written script by actor Reid Carolin. The characters and dialogue feel real, while serving the larger scheme of symbolism. Soderbergh balances ideas and exposition smoothly to the delight of the discerning viewer; Channing Tatum, that dreamy beefcake of the masses, has never felt so tangible in a movie; this is definitely his best work this side of Dito Montiel's A Guide to Recognizing Your Saints.
Matthew McConaughey, Alex Pettyfer, and Olivia Munn are all strong in their roles; Cody Horn makes an impression as Tatum's female foil. Soderbergh places them all oh so carefully like pieces on a chess board. Not all the pieces fit. The cliches in the script are rounded off by Carolin's strengths as a scribe and Soderbergh's genius as a film artist.
Though weakening in the third act, Magic Mike outshines its companion piece, Soderbergh's earlier political parable The Girlfriend Experience; Mike offers more emotion to Girlfriend's cold flatness. While lacking the precision and impact of the director's masterful Contagion, Magic Mike is undeniably one of the better pictures at the multiplexes this Summer.