23. Sex, Lies and Videotape (1989)

The sexy truth hurts 
Directed by: Steven Soderbergh
Written by: Steven Soderbergh
Starring: James Spader, Andie MacDowell, Peter Gallagher

A sexually repressed housewife, her cheating husband, her ‘extrovert’ sister and her husband’s old college friend with a weird fetish – it’s a great thing we’ve got this all on tape. Steven Soderbergh’s Sex, Lies and a Videotape is a wordy, but intriguing film that is written brilliantly, performed well and directed with human x-ray vision as it enables us viewers to truly observe and look into interesting personalities and lives of these characters.

This sex tape contains no nudity and only deep conversation... sexy...

While the story escalates to compelling heights, it comes to a rather flat ending – people get what they deserve, and all’s well that ends well. But what happened to the earlier issues of truth, deceit, desire and catharsis that were so interesting? Sex, Lies and a Videotape seems to open up a whole lot of thought-provoking ideas, only to neatly wrap it all up at the end after dense dialogue that can often feel too heavy in comparison to some of the more effective scenes that were much shorter and sharper.

Nevertheless, Soderbergh proves that sex tapes can be exciting and provocative – even when no clothes are taken off, and there’s no bow-chica-wow-wow music in the background. All it takes is some well-written dialogue.


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