Steven Soderbergh's career remains one of the most diverse of any filmmaker currently working. Debuting with the Sundance darling Sex, Lies, and Videotape in 1989, he has succeeded in both the mainstream and indie arenas. The Ocean's trilogy (especially the first one) and Erin Brockovich have gained both popular acclaim and critical accolades, which is no easy feat. Along with this box-office success, he's made art films like Bubble and Schizpolis that are a long way from multiplex material. Resting in the middle are classics like Traffic and Out of Sight that combine the two segments into a remarkable final product. I've seen most of his memorable films, but there are still plenty of movies that have escaped my notice. For my first marathon covering a specific director, I'm ready to fill in the gaps in my Soderbergh background. My first choice is 1993's King of the Hill, which actually takes place in my hometown of St. Louis.
Although it's not one of his well-known films, King of the Hill falls more into the mainstream side of Soderbergh's career. It's not a flashy production but offers a straightforward story that should interest pretty much anyone if they give it a chance. This is only his third feature film, but it already shows a confidence that will only grow by the end of the '90s. The pace is brisk and doesn't overstay its welcome at a quick 103 minutes. Presented largely from the perspective of an adolescent boy, the camera rarely strays from his viewpoint. Soderbergh has a clear vision that's shown in the attractive set design, the believable characters, and the personal look at the difficulties of the Great Depression.
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