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Full Circle review – Steven Soderbergh’*****-and-miss noir series

The film-maker brings a visually distinctive yet narratively muddled thriller to life with help from an on-form Claire Danes and an off-key Zazie Beetz The work of film-maker Steven Soderbergh – purveyor of blockbuster heists (Ocean’s Eleven), neon-lit tales of hustling for the American Dream (the Magic Mike series), and daring slice-of-life dramas (The Girlfriend Experience, big and small screen versions) – tends to follow the money. Whether its a small-scale drug operation or a major casino robbery, his multi-player ensembles offer not just a sense of the numbers, but the who and why of a scheme, a sense of purpose along with the pleasures of how. Full Circle, the director’s new star-studded, mixed-bag Max limited series (RIP HBO Max), is a bit of an overdose. Sprawling yet often sedate, it disjointedly packs too many of these schemes into an overly complicated, sputtering noir mystery set in present-day New York. Written by Ed Solomon, Soderbergh’s partner for the 2017 choose-your-adventure series Mosaic and the comparatively sleeker and more scintillating film No Sudden Move, Full Circle attempts to braid a thicket of secrets, plans, deceptions and exploitations into a grand picture of cascading connections. The result is less artful collage of counterbalanced motivations and complicities than a rubber-band ball of plot and money, money and plot. Continue reading...

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