By Nathan Quick
For most directors, releasing one great film in a year is an ambitious enough feat. Here are ten directors who were not satisfied with that accomplishment and released not one but two great films in a single year.
10. Steven Soderbergh – 2000 – “Erin Brockovich” and “Traffic”
“Erin Brockovich” and “Traffic” each garnered five Academy Award nominations, earning Soderbergh the distinction of having directed two Best Picture nominees in the same year. “Erin Brockovich” is the true story of a single mother of three who ends up employed at a law firm where she builds a class action lawsuit against the Pacific Gas and Electric Company (for its dishonesty and complacency regarding contaminated groundwater).
Julia Roberts’ turn as Brockovich is one of her best performances, and Soderbergh’s direction is characteristically effective. The underdog-type emotional arc of the story is not anything especially new, but Roberts and Soderbergh give the proceedings a charm that distracts from any predictability in the plot.
“Traffic” is similarly invested in current social issues, specifically the War on Drugs. The film presents three parallel storylines: a police officer and his partner attempting to confront the rampant police and military corruption in Mexico; an Ohioan judge grappling with how to win the unwinnable War on Drugs and rescue his drug-addicted daughter from falling further into her lifestyle; and a Californian woman taking charge of the family drug business following her husband’s imprisonment.
“Traffic” is not a straightforward true story like “Erin Brockovich,” though it does bear resemblance to certain actual events. The story of the judge is the most hackneyed of the three, but it does help to show the futility of political efforts to solve the drug problem.
The other two storylines are more compelling, and Soderbergh distinguishes the three plot strands from each → continue…
From:: Taste Of Cinema