-kB -h e Michigan Daily --Wee eid, etc. Magazine - Thursday, April1, 1999'
The Michig)aily - Weekend,
El] Video Rewind
Soderbergh's 'Underneath' shows gritty, witty action
Dily Arts Wteak
"Good luck," says a surly bar bouncer
to Michael Chambers (Pter Gallagher)
for no perceptible reason, early on in
Steven Soderbergh's 1994 thriller "The
The bouncer could not know how pre-
scient his bit of well-wishing is: Michael
is fatefully entering the nightclub owned
by his ex-girlfriend's new small-time
'gangster boyfriend - a club unsubtley
called The Ember.
A tale of love, luck, money and suckers
of all kinds, "The Underneath" thrives on
scenes like this; the entire film is an
impossibly brilliant balance of overt, high-
ly loaded visual style and subtle symbols.
And don't dare blink during "The
Underneath" for fear of missing any
instances of stylistic flourish, a hallmark
of Steven Soderbergh's emerging directo-
Soderbergh, the man who simultane-
ously put indie filmmaking, Miamax
Films and the Sundance Film Festival on
the national map with 1989s left-field
landmark "Sex, Lies & Videotape" is
once again gaining attention in
Let some of that light shine on "The
Underneath," a largely overlooked film
that received little theatrical exhibition
and was shuffled quickly to video shelves.
Such an unfair shake seems fitting,
though, for a movie so captivated by
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A remake of 1948's "Criss Cross" with
Burt Lancaster, "The Underneath" is a
straightforward - if necessarily twisty -
film noir update with all the trappings ofthe
genre - the dupe, the hood, the comely
femme fatale, the shadow of the unknown
- but with a blindlingly colorful palette.
The colors that domi-
nate so many frames of the
film are a result of
through stained glass, tint-
ed windshields and other
transparencies, perhaps to
underscore the film's focusI
on what lies beneath, just
beyond the surface.
What lies beyond the
surface of the film's rather
conventional plot - a
compulsive gambler who
left behind a girl and az
debt must return to his
hometown to confront
them both - is a roman-
tic, well-acted, expertly-told cautionary tale
that reminds viewers both lust and luck
have a tendency to run out.
Most of the running out is done by
Peter Gallagher's Michael, an ordinarily
decent guy - he selflessly returns home
to see his mother get remarried to even
more decent guy Ed (Paul Dooley) -
who just happens to be plotting an
armored car heist and the subsequent re-
wooing of his girl.
But his girl, Rachel (Alison Elliott),
isn't the type to be wooed. She's the type
who'll dance seductively in that light, all
hair and curves, and then bite the head off
anyone who she successfully seduces.
She's a black widow waiting to eat her
mate, who may be
Michael or her hoodlum
boyfriend, the very noir-
named Tommy Dundee
But until that post-
coital point she'll give
Michael and Tommy
promises of loyalty and
happiness, not to mention
the occasional foot-to-
The film piles on twist
after twist and intro-
duces more pawns than
you can shake a red her-
ring at - including
Elisabeth Shue's bank
teller Susan, who all but
consents to be used by Michael out of
Gallagher, in a layered performance,
conveys similar longing for company, love
and trust, when not upstaged by his co-stars.
Psychopaths, dupes, and good old-fash-
ioned dames all lie within Soderbergh's
evocative "Underneath,"a film worth find-
ing at your local video outlet
Continued from Page 48
Just as Craig had left Transmat to start his own
labels Hawtin went on to form his own, Minus, and
the two former members of UR did the same. For the
majority of this past decade, Detroit has been char-
acterized not by large labels such as Plus 8 or
Transmat but instead by small individually operated
labels focusing on one particular artist.
Dan Sicko, author of "Techno Rebels: The
Renegades of Electronic Funk," finds this
restructuring of the techno scene inherent to
the innovative nature of the music. "Techno
has been democratized to the point where any-
one with the drive to record and release music
can get noticed if he or she has talent and is
bringing something new to the game," he said.
The advent of artist-based labels such as Hawtin's
Minus and Craig's Planet E have proved successful
over the course of the past few years, but once again
things are changing in Detroit. Planet E has recently
focused on developing a roster of younger techno
artists, as has UR.
Along with these two camps, May's
Transmat label has once again begun releasing
records by various artists after nearly a decade
of dormancy. Even Hawtin, who plans to still
focus on Minus, will soon resurrect Plus 8
from its state of hibernation.
ARE YOU 0
"Minus is a much smaller community and a
much more technology-based label," Hawtin
said. "We're looking at a way of reintroducing
some things with Plus 8, kind of repackaged
and remastered. Really reintroduce the whole
idea, the whole mentality, the whole mentality
of what Plus 8 was and will continue to be."
For the past two decades Detroit's techno scene
has continued to produce innovative forms of elec-
tronic music. Even the original Detroit classics of
Atkins, May and Saunderson from the '80s have
failed to age, many of them getting re-released in
the past year or two.
The longevity of the music along with its
forward-thinking ideology has prevented
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The Unversity or Michigan Humor Magazine
Gargoyle Magazine is a University of Michigan Student Publication,
Copies are also available in the Student Publications Building.
Michigan Union Ballroom
Brendan Gfen and Erika Shema perform their brand of techno ve as Ectomorph at
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If so stop by the Arts room
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a new play by Dennis E. North
A young couple on the brink ofdisaster
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For tickets call (734) 764-0450 3
"if f Sett 'Wo'dL
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- April 2"
noon - 3 pm
A quiet space for meditation on
the death of Jesus the Christ
Every half hour will begin with a
word from the cross
Bibles will be available
Handel's Messiah will be playing
in the background
Come and go as you like
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W- a1CWd pfiast &e Tow" &nt"~'Ptgna n.19
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C pataponia, Inc. 1999