For a retired filmmaker, Steven Soderbergh can’t seem to stop making movies. Soderbergh established himself as one of the great directors of his generation early, and never really slowed down. He consistently looks to push boundaries as a filmmaker, whether that means telling sprawling epics with ensemble casts, or if he films his next movie on an iPhone. Soderbergh helped to reinvent independent filmmaking, and whenever he has a story to tell, it seems wise to listen. Releasing on Netflix, his latest feature takes a script from Tarell Alvin McCraney (Oscar-winning co-writer of “Moonlight”) to deliver a slick new ensemble piece.
“High Flying Bird” tells the story of sports agent Dean (Andre Holland) looking to take power away from the NBA. While the rest of the world waits on the lockout, his client (Melvin Gregg from “American Vandal“) can play anywhere he wants. As a rookie about to come into the league, he has not signed a contract yet. Rather than wait for the NBA to sort itself out, Dean convinces his player to start his own mini-league. The result disrupts the NBA and the sports industry, but at what point will Dean pull the plug for the good of his client?
Considering the pedigree of the film, this one looks like a high energy play for Netflix. For an auteur like Soderbergh, the streaming platform gives him freedom. Perhaps most important, he doesn’t have to worry about box office. It also makes his work instantly accessible for audiences. He already partnered with Netflix for his next film, “The Laundromat” as well. With a cast that includes Holland, Gregg, Zazie Beetz, Zach Quinto, Kyle McLaughlin, Bill Duke and more, there’s plenty of reason to be optimistic. Soderbergh loves to make crowd pleasers, and “High Flying Bird” might be his next.