As “one for them/one for me” filmmakers go, Steven Soderbergh’s more multiplex-friendly “ones for them” have always been more idiosyncratic than that simple dichotomy would suggest. This time around, he combines the creepy, grainy intimacy of shooting on an iPhone with conventional psychological thriller elements for the story of Sawyer Valentini (Claire Foy), a young woman who finds herself involuntarily committed to a psychiatric hospital, then believes one of the orderlies there is the man who has been stalking her for two years (Joshua Leonard). But is he? That question is answered relatively quickly, defusing a bit of the paranoia built into the idea of a for-profit hospital taking advantage of emotionally-vulnerable people. Foy makes for a great prickly protagonist who’s more than a cringing victim, and has a great chemistry with Jay Pharoah as a sympathetic fellow patient. But the script is so packed with thematic ideas—women’s words not being taken seriously, post-traumatic stress, toxic capitalism, mental health stigmas—that by the end it almost feels like they’re being resolved on completely unrelated parallel tracks. The lo-fi aesthetic could still have used a more finely-tuned story.
Director: Steven Soderbergh
Producer: Joseph Malloch, Ken Meyer, Arnon Milchan and Dan Fellman
Cast: Claire Foy, Joshua Leonard, Jay Pharoah, Juno Temple, Amy Irving, Polly McKie, Myra Lucretia Taylor, Gibson Frazier, Aimee Mullins and Colin Woodell