Hello I am the movie encyclopedia and if no one else will see it, I will.
The film noir genre has evolved since its inception in the early days of film. Gone now is the hard lights, the trench coats, the guy standing on the corner with a cigarette, nowadays you got these Blade Runner esque neo noirs with over the top stories, odd color palletes (The Spirit) or robot/cyborgs. But the regular genre of film noir still somewhat lives on, even if just found in independant thrillers. One such thriller was Steven Soderbergh's fourth movie, an obscure movie that is REALLY hard to find, The Underneath.
The Underneath is based on the novel Criss Cross by Don Tracy and follows the story of Michael Chambers, played by Soderbergh staple actor Peter Gallagher. He is a small time gambler who got a lot of money and when he lost it, jumped town and left his wife and family behind. The movie is the story of his return. The reason? His mom is getting remarried and his ex wife is in town. What unfolds is a suspense thriller full of twists and turns.
I never cared for Gallagher all that much. I didn't like him in Soderbergh's first film "sex,lies and videotape" and I never liked him in the OC. But for some reason he really stood out in this movie. He should since he IS the lead but his performance is definetly a lot better than a lot of his other roles. Alison Elliot plays Rachel the ex wife and she does well, although her part seems a little small for a top billing. The big stand out for me in this film was William Fichtner who played the criminal boss Tommy. He is devious, he is violent and he is a smooth talker. He is a bad ass that no one messes with and I see a lot of his character in his later role that he had on Prison Break. Inspiration maybe? But his villainy is amazing in this movie and extremly fun to watch.
Although its low budget, its a colorful movie (seriously COLORFUL) with good acting and an interesting plot. Not Soderbergh's best but a decent low budget thriller.
MY VERDICT: SEE IT