Steven Andrew Soderbergh (born January 14, 1963) is an American film director, producer, screenwriter, cinematographer, and editor. An early pioneer of modern independent cinema, he is an acclaimed and prolific filmmaker. His directorial-breakthrough indie drama Sex, Lies, and Videotape (1989), with James Spader, Andie MacDowell, Peter Gallagher, and Laura San Giacomo—lifted him into the public spotlight as a notable presence in the film industry. At 26, Soderbergh became the youngest solo director to win the Palme d’Or at the Cannes Film Festival which garnered the film worldwide commercial success, among numerous accolades.
His other films in the 1990s included Kafka (1991), with Jeremy Irons, Theresa Russell, Ian Holm, Jeroen Krabbé, Joel Grey, Armin Mueller-Stahl, and Alec Guinness; King of the Hill (1993), with Jeroen Krabbé, Lisa Eichhorn, Karen Allen, Spalding Gray, Elizabeth McGovern, and Jesse Bradford; The Underneath (1995), with Gallagher, Alison Elliott, William Fichtner, Adam Trese, Joe Don Baker, Paul Dooley, Shelley Duvall, and Elisabeth Shue; and Schizopolis (1996), which he also starred in; Out of Sight (1998), with George Clooney, Jennifer Lopez, Ving Rhames, Don Cheadle, Dennis Farina, Nancy Allen, Steve Zahn, Catherine Keener, and Albert Brooks; and The Limey (1999), with Terence Stamp, Lesley Ann Warren, Guzmán, Barry Newman, Nicky Katt, and Peter Fonda.
His two first major hits of the early 2000s were the legal drama Erin Brockovich (2000), with Julia Roberts, Albert Finney, and Aaron Eckhart; and the crime drama film Traffic (2000), with Don Cheadle, Benicio del Toro, Michael Douglas, Erika Christensen, Luis Guzmán, Dennis Quaid, Catherine Zeta-Jones, Jacob Vargas, Tomas Milian, Topher Grace, James Brolin, Steven Bauer, and Benjamin Bratt; the latter winning him the Academy Award for Best Director. He found further popular and critical success with the Ocean’s trilogy (2001–2007), which collectively features Clooney, Bernie Mac, Brad Pitt, Elliott Gould, Casey Affleck, Scott Caan, Eddie Jemison, Cheadle, Shaobo Qin, Carl Reiner, Matt Damon, Andy García, Roberts, Zeta-Jones, Vincent Cassel, Al Pacino, and Ellen Barkin.
Other films of the 2000s include Full Frontal (2002), with Keener, Blair Underwood, David Duchovny, Roberts, Mary McCormack, Katt, Pitt, and David Hyde Pierce; Solaris (2002), with Clooney, Natascha McElhone, Jeremy Davies, Viola Davis, and Ulrich Tukur; The Good German (2006), with Clooney, Cate Blanchett, Tobey Maguire, and Beau Bridges; the two-part film Che (2008), with del Toro, Demián Bichir, Rodrigo Santoro, Santiago Cabrera, Franka Potente, Julia Ormond, Vladimir Cruz, Marc-André Grondin, Lou Diamond Phillips, Joaquim de Almeida, Édgar Ramírez, Yul Vazquez, Unax Ugalde, Alfredo De Quesada, and Oscar Isaac; and The Informant! (2010), with Damon, Scott Bakula, Joel McHale and Melanie Lynskey.
Films in the 2010s include Contagion (2011); with Marion Cotillard, Damon, Laurence Fishburne, Jude Law, Gwyneth Paltrow, Kate Winslet, Bryan Cranston, Jennifer Ehle, and Sanaa Lathan; Haywire (2012), with Gina Carano, Michael Fassbender, Ewan McGregor, Bill Paxton, Tatum, Antonio Banderas, and Douglas; Magic Mike (2012); with Channing Tatum, Alex Pettyfer, Matthew McConaughey, Cody Horn, Olivia Munn, Matt Bomer, Riley Keough, Joe Manganiello, Kevin Nash, Adam Rodriguez, Gabriel Iglesias; Side Effects (2013); with Law, Rooney Mara, Zeta-Jones, and Tatum; and the TV movie Behind the Candelabra (2013), with Douglas, Damon, Dan Aykroyd, Bakula, Rob Lowe, and Debbie Reynolds.
Films in the late 2010s Logan Lucky (2017), with Tatum, Adam Driver, Keough, Daniel Craig, Brian Gleeson, Jack Quaid, Seth MacFarlane, Katie Holmes, Hilary Swank, Katherine Waterston, and Sebastian Stan; Unsane (2018), with Claire Foy, Joshua Leonard, Jay Pharoah, Juno Temple, Aimee Mullins, and Amy Irving; High Flying Bird (2019), with André Holland, Zazie Beetz, Melvin Gregg, Sonja Sohn, Zachary Quinto, Kyle MacLachlan, and Bill Duke; The Laundromat (2019), with Meryl Streep, Gary Oldman, Banderas, Jeffrey Wright, David Schwimmer, Matthias Schoenaerts, James Cromwell, and Sharon Stone.
Films in the early 2020s include Let Them All Talk (2020), with Streep, Dianne Wiest, Candice Bergen, Lucas Hedges, and Gemma Chan; and No Sudden Move (2021), with Cheadle, del Toro, David Harbour, Jon Hamm, Ray Liotta, Kieran Culkin, Brendan Fraser, Noah Jupe, Julia Fox, and Amy Seimetz.
Soderbergh’s films have grossed over US$2.2 billion worldwide and garnered nine Oscar nominations, winning seven. Despite his film career spanning a multitude of genres, his cinematic niche centers on psychological, crime, and heist thrillers. His films often revolve around familiar concepts often used for big budget Hollywood movies but with an avant garde arthouse approach. They center on the themes of shifting personal identities, vengeance, sexuality, morality, and the human condition. His feature films retain distinctive cinematography as a result of his liberal use of avant-garde cinema coupled with unconventional film and camera formats. Many of his films are anchored by multi-dimensional storylines with plot twists, nonlinear storytelling, experimental sequencing, suspenseful soundscapes, and third person vantage points.
Each review will be linked to the title below.
(*seen originally in theaters)
(**seen rereleased in theaters)
- Yes: 9012Live (1985) – concert film
- Access All Areas (1985) – short
- Winston (1987) – short
- Sex, Lies, and Videotape (1989)
- Kafka (1991)
- King of the Hill (1993)
- The Underneath (1995)
- The Daytrippers (1996) – directed by Greg Mottola – co-producer
- Schizopolis (1996) – uncredited
- Gray’s Anatomy (1996) – concert film
- Nightwatch (1997) – directed by Ole Bornedal – co-writer
- Out of Sight (1998)
- Pleasantville (1998) – directed by Gary Ross – co-producer
- The Limey (1999)
- Erin Brockovich (2000)
- Traffic (2000)
- Ocean’s Eleven (2001)
- Full Frontal (2002)
- Solaris (2002)
- Welcome to Collinwood (2002) – directed by Anthony & Joe Russo – producer
- Far From Heaven (2002) – directed by Todd Haynes – executive producer
- Confessions of a Dangerous Mind (2002) – directed by George Clooney – executive producer
- K Street (2003) – TV series
- Abel Edwards (2003) – directed by Graham Robertson – executive producer
- Eros (2004) – directed with Wong Kar-wai & Michelangelo Antonioni – anthology
- Ocean’s Twelve (2004)
- Criminal (2004) – directed by Gregory Jacobs – co-writer (as Sam Lowry)
- Bubble (2005)
- Rumor Has It… (2005) – directed by Rob Reiner – executive producer
- Good Night, and Good Luck. (2005) – directed by George Clooney – executive producer
- Syriana (2005) – directed by Stephen Gaghan – executive producer
- The Big Empty (2005) – directed by Lisa Chang & Newton Thomas Sigel – short – executive producer
- Building No. 7 (2006) – short
- The Good German (2006)
- A Scanner Darkly (2006) – directed by Richard Linklater – executive producer
- Ocean’s Thirteen (2007)
- Michael Clayton (2007) – directed by Tony Gilroy – executive producer
- I’m Not There (2007) – directed by Todd Haynes – executive producer
- Che: Part One – The Argentine (2008)
- Che: Part Two – Guerrilla (2008)
- The Girlfriend Experience (2009)
- The Informant! (2009)
- Solitary Man (
- And Everything Is Going Fine (2010) – documentary
- Contagion (2011)
- The Last Time I Saw Michael Gregg (2011) – short
- Haywire (2012)
- Magic Mike (2012)
- An Amazing Time: A Conversation About End of the Road (2012) – documentary short
- Side Effects (2013)
- Behind the Candelabra (2013) – TV movie
- Da Sweet Blood of Jesus (2014) – directed by Spike Lee – executive producer
- Magic Mike XXL (2015) – directed by Gregory Jacobs – executive producer
- Logan Lucky (2017)*
- Unsane (2018)
- Ocean’s Eight (2018) – directed by Gary Ross – producer
- Your Life As a Spy (2019) – short
- High Flying Bird (2019)
- The Laundromat (2019)
- The Report (2019) – directed by Scott Z. Burns – producer
- Bill & Ted Face the Music (2020)* – directed by Dean Parisot – executive producer
- Let Them All Talk (2020)