10 Best Performances in Steven Soderbergh Movies

Steven Soderbergh, a filmmaker renowned for his innovative approach to independent cinema, has captivated audiences and actors alike with his remarkable movies. From his Palme d’Or-winning debut to his ventures into television, Soderbergh’s body of work boasts over thirty films and several notable TV shows. In this article, we highlight the top ten best performances in Steven Soderbergh’s movies.

10. Zazie Beetz – ‘High Flying Bird’

Soderbergh, known for embracing new film distribution models, was among the first major directors to explore the streaming era. In his Netflix film ‘High Flying Bird,’ the story revolves around sports agent Ray Burke, played by Andre Holland, trying to secure work for his players during an NBA lockout. However, it is Zazie Beetz’s portrayal of his overworked assistant that shines brightly and steals the show.

9. Zoe Kravitz – ‘Kimi’

‘Kimi’ presents a modern take on a Rear Window-style narrative, with Zoe Kravitz starring as Angela Childs, a data monitor confined to her home during the COVID-19 pandemic. When she discovers signs of criminal activity in her monitored files, Angela delves deeper into her employer’s records, turning ‘Kimi’ into an intense and thrilling one-woman show.

8. Matt Damon – ‘The Informant!’

Soderbergh’s collaboration with Matt Damon began with the Ocean’s trilogy, and it continued with ‘The Informant!’. Damon delivers his wildest comedic performance as Mike Whitacre, a working-class employee turned FBI informant amidst a price-fixing scandal. His bumbling and goofy antics showcase Damon’s versatility and skill in physical comedy.

7. Michael Douglas – ‘Behind the Candelabra’

‘Behind the Candelabra’ portrays the life of music legend Liberace, portrayed by Michael Douglas, and received acclaim during award season. Douglas’s tour de force performance captures the flamboyance of Liberace, and the love scenes with co-star Matt Damon effectively communicate their on-screen chemistry.

6. Rooney Mara – ‘Side Effects’

‘Side Effects’ marked Soderbergh’s last film before his brief retirement from films. The movie uses a romantic murder mystery thriller premise to shed light on the health system’s flaws and unjust patient misdiagnoses. Rooney Mara’s compelling performance as the wife of a recently released convict entangled in an illicit medication scandal adds depth to this unique project.

5. Riley Keough – ‘Logan Lucky’

‘Logan Lucky’ is a hilarious heist comedy, often referred to as “Ocean’s 7-11,” and marks Soderbergh’s post-retirement film. Riley Keough’s portrayal of Millie, the brains of the Logan sibling trio, stands out as she brings both bickering and genuine love among siblings to life.

4. Terrence Stamp – ‘The Limey’

In ‘The Limey,’ Soderbergh draws inspiration from the action thriller ‘Point Blank’ and presents a hypnotic revenge film. Terence Stamp’s performance as the mysterious British man seeking justice for his daughter’s death is both compelling and powerful, adding depth to the character’s emotional journey.

3. Benicio Del Toro – ‘Traffic’

‘Traffic’ tells interconnected stories centered around illegal drug trafficking across the US-Mexico border. Benicio del Toro’s exceptional portrayal of undercover cop Javier Rodriguez Rodríguez earned him an Academy Award for Best Supporting Actor, solidifying his place among the movie’s standout performances.

2. George Clooney – ‘Ocean’s Eleven’

Soderbergh’s ‘Ocean’s Eleven’ distinguishes itself from the original with a fresh and emotional approach. George Clooney’s portrayal of the charismatic burglar Danny Ocean, orchestrating an ambitious casino robbery to win back his ex-wife, proves his prowess in blending charm with emotional depth.

1. Julia Roberts – ‘Erin Brockovich’

Julia Roberts delivers a career-defining performance as Erin Brockovich, a single mother turned lawyer, in this iconic film. Roberts’ passion for helping those in need, coupled with her refusal to tolerate corruption, makes ‘Erin Brockovich’ an unforgettable portrayal, rightfully earning her an Academy Award.

Steven Soderbergh’s filmography has consistently provided a platform for actors to showcase their talent, resulting in exceptional performances that continue to resonate with audiences worldwide. As Soderbergh’s legacy grows, one thing remains certain: his movies will continue to be a treasure trove of memorable performances.

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Stevie Flavio
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