If, like me, you have thoroughly enjoyed any or all of his movies that have come out in the past couple of years, the announced retirement of director Steven Soderbergh comes as a real bummer. Given his prolific filmmaking pace, completing 26 movies over the past 24 years of work, it’s understandable why he might be a tad burnt out. Apparently he wants to devote more time to painting and other projects. He has an HBO movie about Liberace airing soon, but after that he plans to take at the very least a long break from filmmaking.
It’s just too bad, because he’s produced so many great works at such a consistent rate. Most recently, he has directed Side Effects, Magic Mike, Contagion, and Haywire. That was just in the past two years. All of those are solid films, especially when you consider how they compare to the genres they’re meant to fit into. He’s a master at subverting your expectations; you’re expecting a straightforward stripper movie and instead you get a fascinating character piece, or a pharmaceutical conspiracy that becomes a disturbing relational thriller. Perhaps the biggest surprise of all is that he’s decided to get out of the game when he’s arguably at his peak.
He’s decided to burn out rather than fade away. Probably a smart move. Other directors have gone down the latter path, releasing stuff that’s a shell of their former work, but continuing to plug away, to audiences’ chagrin. Here is a list of directors who would have been wise to follow the Steven Soderbergh model years ago.
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