Film Comment Back Issues 728x90 Film Society of Lincoln Center

Made-for-Cable Pick: Behind the Candelabra

By Violet Lucca

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(HBO, $19.97)

A companion piece to the straight camp of 2005’s Bubble, Steven Soderbergh’s star-studded portrait of the greatest act of gay vanity in the modern era offers a wealth of riches: Rob Lowe’s face, Michael Douglas’s nasally falsetto, Matt Damon in a fat suit. Now available to view free from the glitches of cable and online streaming, this is Soderbergh at his finest. Along with feasting upon Liberace’s rococo mansion, in which there’s an ornate vase for every flat surface, you can appreciate the “retired” director’s expert camerawork and staging, e.g., the scene in which Scott’s predecessor (wearing white short-shorts) squats by the pool to warn him that he’s no less expendable, shot through the soon-to-be-ousted houseboy’s legs. Though it’s not eligible for an Academy Award, it’s easily among the best mainstream films of the decade so far.

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