11 of 12 people found the following review helpful
on February 4, 2006
In a small town on the Ohio and West Virgina border, Martha and Kyle work together at the local doll factory. Martha is a middle-aged, unmarried woman who lives with her infirmed father and takes care of him. Kyle is an unfocused young man, who never finished high school and still lives with his mom in the local trailer park. Martha and Kyle are "friends." Martha picks Kyle up for work everyday, and she even drives him to his other job at the shovel factory in the same town. Everything is normal until the doll factory hires a new worker. The new worker, Rose, is a single mother around Kyle's age. Rose and Kyle become good friends, and even go out on a date together. All of these incidents come together to lead to tragic consequences about halfway through the film.
Bubble is really an odd, intense film. The character of Martha seems to paint a picture of a life of pointlessness, loneliness, and sadness. Martha obviously thinks more of her relationship with Kyle than he does. Their conversations are never complicated, and are filled with plenty of awkward silences. In fact, the silences are some of the best parts of Bubble. All the conversations feel completely real. Maybe it was Steven Soderbergh's choice to use non-actors for the film's main roles, or maybe it was the writing, but either way, the film feels very normal and realistic.
Some people would argue that nothing actually happens for the first 40 minutes of the film; and they would be right. The first 40 minutes consist mostly of talks between Martha and Kyle, and silent shots of Martha going about her pathetic, lonely existence in the small town. However, once the murder happens, the film becomes much more interesting on a more normal level of film entertainment. I personally enjoyed the entire film, which runs a very short length of about 75 minutes.
Obviously, the point of the film isn't the mystery. It's more about life in this small, poor town, where no one can seem to get out and make a good life for themselves. Martha's father is still there. Kyle's mother is still there. Rose's ex-boyfriend is still there. And when all their lives intersect for that one night, there are terrible consequences. I really enjoyed the film, but I don't think I'd watch it again, and normal filmgoers will probably not enjoy the slow, deliberate pacing and lack of action.
Hey, it is a step up from Ocean's 12, at least.
39 of 51 people found the following review helpful
on January 28, 2006
Another brillant piece of work from the director who refuses to be pigeon-holed, his work reminds one of not only American indie stalwarts like Jarmusch, the Coens, etc... but also European and Asian minimalists like Kiarostami, Antononi, Wong Kar Wai, Kaurismaki and Renaisis.
Soderbergh coaxed great performances for the non-professional cast and his visual is a treat as always.
Definitely not a plot-driven multiplex fare, not a masterpiece, but a must see nonethless, for any who values cinema not only as a storytelling medium BUT rather, a VISUAL-AUDIO experience.
5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
on February 5, 2006
Soderbergh is one of the those directors whose films I often like, love or absolutely hate. Bubble is another thing entirely. Not only is it the best film of the year but it is also the best film he has ever made. It is also one of the best indie films of the last five years. The only other indie coming close to its perfection is Tim Blake Nelson's Eye Of God another film to seek out exploring similiar themes of detachment and loneliness in a small American town. I was blown away by pretty much everything about it. It is perfect and my mind and a testament to the powers of independent filmmmaking (it was shot on digital was made on a budget of 1 million dollars - small change in comparison to budgets of most hollywood films). The script by Coleman Hough (Full Frontal) is amazing and the acting by the actress playing the role of "Martha" is in my humble opinion one of the great performances in recent cinema. Buy it...Watch it. Then show it to all your friends.
5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
Format: DVDVerified Purchase
If you're looking for a blockbuster with exploding cars and crashing trucks, this ain't it. Bubble is a simple, understated, moody film that spins itself slowly into greater and greater complexity. Using non-actors, Soderbergh manages to pull realistic and revealing performances and create an overall subtle but suspenseful mood. This film is all in the nuances. Take a deep breath, sit back, and let this film flow by and amaze you.
This film also stands as a shining example of the filmic possibilities opened up by new technologies, not in terms of the flashy special effects we're constantly bombarded with, but in terms of being able to take a high def digital camera and, using available lighting, create a beautiful professional looking film. Every budding director should see this film and open their minds and eyes to what can be done with very little equipment and a big dose of talent.
7 of 8 people found the following review helpful
Soderbergh's minimalist "experiment" has been called a masterpiece of subtlety and an art-wrecked pastiche of boredom. Brilliantly conceived quietude and undercooked social commentary. Amazing or just plain dull.
What you feel about it depends on your level of patience. The story behind "Bubble" is not much of a story at all. Red-headed and middle-aged Martha works at a doll factory with the lanky, dead-eyed Kyle. They have the kind of thread-thin friendship that can only exist between employees suffering under the same deadening, colorless job. Their conversation is the same watery teal as the drab Ohio horizon into which they drive every early morning.
Enter: Rose. A pale single mother with a beauty as fragile as her glances, another slight mid-western soul whose life is equal shades of futureless blue and inert, raging red. Like Martha and Kyle, Rose keeps her head down and scrabbles a personality out of her habits, hobbies, and adamant lack of hopes. When the three have a lunchtime conversation around bags of fast food, the interplay is so real, you may either be fascinated or bored. Having been raised in the rural mid-west and now pushing my life through the metal dust of downtown Seoul, I found this part of the movie to be the most dismally touching. Three hearts that have already been broken long before the film has been exposed to them. Can they be broken again?
Maybe. The movie credibly coalesces around a murder "mystery," taking as much patient time as the investigating detective, and just as adamantly refusing to take sides or seep with a single drop of tear or sweat. What happened and by whom, well, it's not that big of a deal. It's the whys which are the greatest presence here. People who have no hope can still have fears, can still feel thwarted by life. What happens when those contained blues and reds bleed one into another?
The actors are all regular Joes and Janes found by Soderbergh and company among the working class of West Virginia and Ohio. As many have said before, they turn in performances as rock solid and sure as any of the million-dollar names today, with the exception of Dustin James Ashley, who plays Kyle at such a neutered remove that he is about as expressive and engaging as the plastic dolls he spends all day making. I'm sure that was the point, and it plays well into the hands of the movie's pregnant soul, but it's also not very impressive. Anyone can play a blank.
The movie may seem as empty as a blank to viewers with more conventional tastes, but there's a hypnotic rush to every frame. It's the ache of a muscle that has not been unclenched in a long time, a fist that is only slowly pried open, a dark bubble that won't pop, even when it's poked by the bony hand of death. Not much happens, sure. But then again, everything does.
4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
on June 13, 2006
What sets this movie so far apart from others, is that real people were used, and NOT actors.
Actually, I think they did an excellent job.
Though if you are looking for an action movie, or a fast paced drama, this is not for you.
It focuses on a small town, and only a handful of characters.
It's about a middle aged woman who lives with her Father and has pretty much no life, besides her job at the doll factory.
She has a crush on a very young man, young enough to be her Son, at the factory. Obviously, the feeling is not mutual, and he is only being kind to her.
Enter a young attractive woman, and mother of a small child, who begins work at the Doll Factory.
The two youngsters decide to hook up, and Martha (The older woman) babysits for her co-worker while she dates her (Martha's)crush.
Jealousy erupts and it turns tragic.
The whole feel of this movie is very laid back, as is life in a small town, and although it IS slow paced and lacks action, there is still an interesting little story here about the desperation of an aging lonley woman whose life has passed her by.
Must have a liking for art house films to appreciate and enjoy it.
6 of 7 people found the following review helpful
on August 15, 2006
BUBBLE is a very polarizing movie. Those who do not like it will, apparently, argue that it is slow-moving and amateurish. Those who do like it (like me) will find it not only refreshing, but fascinating.
I say that BUBBLE is refreshing because it is one of the few films that gets its small-town characters right. The characters in BUBBLE look like real people (probably because Soderbergh selected non-actors for the roles). It wasn't until after I watched BUBBLE that I realized how artificial most actors/actresses come across when they try to portray "ordinary" people. For instance, although Jennifer Aniston might have done a commendable job with her role in THE GOOD GIRL, she was still unconvincing ... after all, have you ever seen a drug store clerk that looks like Jennifer Aniston? Even her more homely husband, John C. Reilly, has a certain movie-star quality that your average American lacks. The actors in BUBBLE, on the other hand, are just right. They are not without their flaws, yet they are also not toothless, greasy-haired caricatures. They are simply believable.
The way the characters speak in BUBBLE is also very real. In almost every other movie, the characters talk like movie characters and not like human beings. Their slick and witty dialogue is obviously meant to drive the plot along - and not meant to illustrate the way we actually communicate. BUBBLE, on the other hand, lingers patiently as the characters engage in small-talk. Some may find this approach boring, but I found it fascinating. For once, I didn't feel like the dialogue was meant to manipulate or entertain. There wasn't a false note.
Speaking of false notes, I've noticed that some people have criticized the acting in BUBBLE. This, I cannot understand. If affectations and grandiose displays of emotion are good acting, then - no - I suppose this film doesn't contain good acting. However, I found the acting to be very immediate and natural. In fact, to me, BUBBLE seemed nearer to a documentary than a film (take the scene where Rose is leaving her daughter for the evening. Have you ever known a director to illicit such a perfect "performance" from a child-actor?).
On a last note, although BUBBLE might seem slow, it is not without plot. It is a mystery, after all. It's just that the mystery is handled with subtle elegance and is so much more true-to-life than any other mystery movie.
You may or may not agree with me that this is an incredible movie, but hopefully, if you haven't seen it, you'll at least know after reading this review whether or not you should bother with it. Let's say this: if you were a fan of Soderbergh's SEX LIES AND VIDEOTAPE, then you should probably give this one a shot. If you find movies like LOST IN TRANSLATION dull, you'd better run in the opposite direction.
6 of 7 people found the following review helpful
on July 29, 2006
I watched the film on DVD because it looked interesting, though I had heard nothing about it. The film seemed sparse, rather drab and depressing. Having lived in this general part of the country, in a small town, I could understand the lives in the film all too easily. I liked the characters, but in the end ... I thought it was an odd film. That is, until I watched some of the DVD extras, including the "real lives of the actors" segment. Watching that, and then listening to the casting interviews, I discovered that much of the film used the actors' real lives in it. And it was then that I discovered the brilliance in this piece of art. Keep an open mind, remember the actors are non-professionals when you watch it ... but WATCH it!
3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
I loved this movie, although that wasn't my initial reaction (at first I thought, "Good Lord, this is like watching paint dry"). But here it is, the next day, and it still haunts me, the images burned into my brain. I have been reading the negative reviews on here and can see some of the point to many of them. But what many people seem to miss (I think) is that this is a very complete film about people trapped in a dead-end place in dead-end jobs. These are people whose lives offer little in the way of hope or excitement. The murder that occurs in the film made perfect sense to me and the epiphany moment near the end where the murderer realizes truly what she's done is one of the images that stays with me. I grew up in a little town very much like Belpre, where Bubble was shot (and not that far from it) and I thought Soderbergh really got beneath the surface of these people and portrayed them with a sense of honesty and dignity. The simplicity of this film is what makes it stunning and so arresting artistically...although it is simple, it is never simplistic. Soderbergh proves him craftsmanship here as an artist: he never tells, he just shows. And the discerning viewer is definitely rewarded.
5 of 6 people found the following review helpful
`Bubble,' a low budget indie release, has more to it than meets the eye. Seeming to enact a mundane slice of life with a sudden catastrophe, the film shines with authenticity and a haunting, lingering presence long after the credits roll.
Taking place in a small town in Ohio, we follow the plodding lives of three workers at a local doll factory. All the details flow from scene to scene. They talk about the long hours and the humdrum facts of their existence in the break room. Martha (Debbie Doebereiner) is high in seniority. Not much excites her in life. She is there to help in a neighborly way and clarify the finer points of work and fringe benefits at the plant. At home she takes care of her father (Omar Cowan), who, without her help, would probably be put in a nursing home. Kyle (Dustin James Ashley) is her younger co-worker. Everything seems normal until Rose Hilliard (Misty Wilkins) comes to work at the factory. Rose fits in early and well. She has many stories to tell about the nursing home from which she resigned. Subtly, they show some signs of resentment, but, dutifully, church-going Martha builds a bond by agreeing to baby-sit for Rose's two-year-old child, Jesse, while Rose goes out on a date. A surprise to Martha, Kyle arrives to pick up Rose. Even more surprising, Jesse's estranged father, Jake (K. Smith), shows up at her apartment angrily contesting some missing merchandise at his place. It isn't apparent if it is a true accusation or the new date that sets him on a tirade. After the evening is done, a murder takes place, and it isn't until we reach the very end that it all becomes clear.
`Bubble' is so genuine, particularly with police detectives that seem so true to life. They're very official, but friendly, yet probing, in a familiar way--not like James Cagney or Dirty Harry. Stephen Soderbergh sets up the story in the sparest way possible. (It clocks in at about an hour and a quarter, which is not a flaw.) In the end, we find murder in all its passion and in all its trivial pursuit. What makes 'Bubble' so effective is its portrayal of ordinary people who believably act out the inconceivable behind the headlines.