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Fresh faced spy thriller

OUT NOW! Steven Soderbergh's casting of the refreshingly authentic Gina Carano saves HAYWIRE.

Former mixed martial arts fighter Gina Carano is probably the best thing about Soderbergh’s latest feature. She plays a secret agent working for a company that occasionally does the dirty work for an official US agency (mentioning no names). The freshness of her face and palpably authentic fighting skills make her believable as the outsider that she is and remains throughout the movie and amount to a thumbs up for Soderbergh’s instincts in casting her.

Relying heavily on devices that we associate with his other highly successful films like Traffic and the Oceans trilogy, e.g. heavy scoring, flashback, monochrome lighting and snappy James Bond-style dialogue (to explain the finer points of the plot for those still floundering when the credits are about to roll) – Soderbergh finger-prints his film while also stepping back to tell us that, “hey, it’s just another exercise in genre, folks.”

That said, this particular take on the spy thriller is well suited to Soderbergh’s known obsession with lying. From the personal (Sex, Lies and Videotape) to the corporate (Erin Brockovich), he’s proved himself a master at the depiction of hiding and revealing. Seen in this context, the film can be attributed a little more depth. Seen as an isolated piece of moviemaking, however, it’s a moderately entertaining exposition of a single theme hiding behind a complicated plot that indulges style at the expense of content.

Haywire | Directed by Steven Soderbergh (Ireland, USA 2011) with Gina Carano, Michael Douglas, Antonio Banderas, Channing Tatum, Michael Fassbender, Ewan McGregor. Starts March 8