Feb 022021

The Underneath isn’t a strong film from Steven Soderbergh but has its moments and the performances from Peter Gallagher and Alison Elliott were quite noteworthy.



The Underneath

Genre(s): Drama, Suspense/Thriller, Crime
Kino Lorber | R – 99 min. – $24.95 | February 16, 2021

Date Published: 02/02/2021 | Author: The Movieman

Director: Steven Soderbergh
Writer(s): Don Tracy (book “Criss Cross”); Steven Soderbergh and Daniel Fuchs (screenplay)
Cast: Peter Gallagher, Alison Elliott, William Fichtner, Adam Trese, Jon Don Baker, Paul Dooley, Shelley Duvall, Elisabeth Shue

Features: Commentary, Theatrical Trailer
Slip Cover: No
Digital Copy: No
Formats Included: Blu-ray
Number of Discs: 1

Audio: English (DTS-HD MA 5.1)
Video: 1080p/Widescreen 1.66
Subtitles: English SDH
Disc Size: 48.24 GB
Total Bitrate: 38.57 Mbps
Codecs: MPEG-4 AVC
Region(s): A

Kino Lorber provided me with a free copy of the Blu-ray I reviewed in this Blog Post.
The opinions I share are my own.


Plot Synopsis: Gambling addict Michael Chambers (PETER GALLAGHER) returns to Texas for the wedding of his mother and soon becomes engulfed in the wreckage of his past. He has an affair with his ex-wife, Rachel (ALISON ELLIOTT), who is now seeing thug Tommy Dundee (WILLIAM FICHTNER). When Dundee discovers the two lovers together, Chambers finds himself at the center of an armored car heist involving an old flame (ELISABETH SHUE) and his new stepfather (PAUL DOOLEY).

Quick Hit Review: The Underneath is one of director Steven Soderbergh’s earlier works, his fourth in fact, and before he I suppose fine tuned his signature look that would permeate Traffic, Out of Sight and Ocean’s 11 (all personal favorites of mine). Here he utilizes various colors for different scenes or flashbacks though not entirely precise and seemingly a bit random, though with his cinematographer, Elliot Davis (Out of Sight, Twilight, The Iron Lady), the film does look good.

In terms of the story, this is very much a slow burn of a character study and for anyone looking for a crime-suspense/thriller, it does come to fruition at least in the third act with about 30-minutes left, with an understandable yet also underwhelming finale with a twist at the very end that doesn’t make a whole lot of sense, at least upon my first viewing.

That said, while I wasn’t totally enamored with the movie, the performances from Peter Gallagher and Alison Elliott were convincing and it’s never a bad thing having William Fichtner playing a smalltime gangster, even if the character is one-dimensional and not terribly intimidating, though he doesn’t get a massive amount of screen time.

Comparing The Underneath with Soderbergh’s work early and late, it’s hardly the worst (I hated Full Frontal and found Ocean’s 12 disappointing if not at times obnoxious) and I suppose if you’re a completist when it comes to filmmakers and you never picked up the DVD, this is as good enough opportunity as it does have some style though some of the story elements felt incomplete.



Features include an Audio Commentary with Film Historian and Critic Peter Tonguette who breaks down the film including how it fits in with Steven Soderbergh’s repartee of films, and tackles the style and characters. There is also the Theatrical Trailer (2:07).


VIDEO – 3¾/5

There’s no mention on the back cover about a new restoration so it’s likely Kino Lorber received this 1080p high-definition transfer from Gramercy or whomever currently holds the rights. As such, it’s not a fantastic looking picture, at times the detail is more splotchy (maybe even some artifacting) than crisp, however colors are vibrant and pretty well balanced and the film itself didn’t seem to have any major damage.

AUDIO – 4¼/5

The included DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1 track (as well as a 2.0 option) outputs crisp and clear dialogue with no discernible pops or hisses, and there is some modest depth for the couple more action-y scenes while ambient noises make usage of the rear channels. It’s a pretty basic lossless track but serviceable enough.



The Underneath isn’t a strong film from Steven Soderbergh but has its moments and the performances from Peter Gallagher and Alison Elliott were quite noteworthy. The video and audio transfers are more than satisfactory and features are a bit light.




Check out some more 1080p screen caps by going to page 2. Please note, these do contain spoilers.

 Leave a Reply

You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <s> <strike> <strong>