Debbie Doebereiner, Misty Wilkins, Dustin Ashley. The odd friendship between young Kyle and middle-aged Martha, who car-pool together to their lonely night-shift job a doll factory, is disrupted by the hiring of Rose, a pretty young woman who befriends them both. When Rose and Kyle start dating, relationship dynamics crumble, leading to murder. Be sure to see deleted scenes for insight on the mysterious ending! 2006/color/73 min/R.
As an audacious experiment in the art and distribution of motion pictures, Bubble
is a twofold triumph. Released on DVD a mere four days after its U.S. theatrical release (in only 32 theaters) in January 2006, this ultra-low-key drama was the first of six films by maverick director Steven Soderbergh (produced in partnership with HDNet Films and 2929 Entertainment, founded by Internet pioneers Mark Cuban and Todd Wagner) to be released simultaneously in theaters, on DVD, and HDNet cable TV, effectively closing the traditional "window" between theatrical and home-video release platforms, and causing many theater owners to boycott the film in protest over its groundbreaking strategy. To accommodate this paradigm-shifting milestone, Soderbergh and Full Frontal
screenwriter Coleman Hough reunited to craft a working-class murder mystery that's perfectly suited to its experimental purpose: Quickly shot on high definition video, it's a riveting 72-minute exercise in minimal style, located in the depressed border town of Belpre, Ohio, and employing non-actors from the region who played an active role in creating their mundane everyday dialogue.
Chubby, middle-aged Martha (Debbie Doebereiner) and twentysomething slacker Kyle (Dustin James Ashley) work in a drab doll factory, molding and assembling rubber doll parts, passing dreary lunch-hours with small talk and clinging to modest dreams that will never come true. When an attractive single mother named Rose (Misty Dawn Wilkins) is hired as a temporary employee, Martha's secretly possessive affection for Kyle is silently challenged, leading to an act of violence that obliterates their daily routine. In dramatizing this passive love triangle, Soderbergh (serving, under pseudonyms, as his own cinematographer and editor) emphasizes the stilted, soul-crushing rhythms of lives that have been stunted by loneliness and isolation; they live in a bubble, as it were, and Bubble is arresting in its visual precision, finding unexpected beauty in physical and emotional bleakness. Obviously not the kind of film that draws a blockbuster audience, Bubble exists on its own terms, capable of captivating a receptive audience, regardless of format or context, without losing its experimental edge. DVD extras include a video introduction by Soderbergh, the original casting interviews with the film's non-professional actors, and more. --Jeff Shannon