Well… This was probably one of the strangest things I’ve ever seen. When I think of Steven Soderbergh, I think of a very talented and versatile director that seems to have the ability to take on any genre, from the complicated comedy of Ocean’s 11, to the intense drama/thriller films of Side Effects and Traffic. But then there’s Schizopolis, a twisted experiment in surrealist comedy that reminds me of something David Lynch would make it he had a much lighter sense of humor. Steven Soderbergh making something like this, though, I never would have expected.
Fletcher Munson (Steven Soderbergh) is an office employee for the company run by T. Azimuth Schwitters (Mike Malone), the inspirational founder behind a new self help/religion, Eventualism. Fletcher and his wife (Betsy Brantley) have a relationship that can only be described as nonexistent, speaking only in the underlining context of how they really feel. When Munson gets even more distant when he has to write a speech for Schwitters, his wife decides to take her love elsewhere to Munson’s doppelganger, the timid dentist Dr. Korchek (also Steven Soderbergh). Meanwhile, the swinging exterminator, Elmo Oxygen (David Jensen), who spends most of his time bedding the housewives of the houses he sprays is somehow fitting into all of this.
There’s not much I can really say about Schizopolis. It’s something that I never expected out of Steven Soderbergh, but it’s something I would have liked to see more of. It’s non-linear plot line is only the first of the strange things about this movie. There are events of the past that are making their way into the future, nonsensical babbling, and two people who are one and the same without offering any explanation. At the beginning of the movie, a character of Soderbergh announces that if there’s anything that we don’t understand about the movie, it’s our fault and not theirs.
This is a really funny movie, and a lot of that goes to Steven Soderbergh’s acting. This is the only movie he’s ever acted in, but I wouldn’t mind seeing him in something else. Of course, that probably won’t be happening after he pretty much gave up on movies after the way Hollywood treated his work. This movie feels like something very personal that he wanted to make, and the only reason it ever got made was because he wanted to do it. As silly as it is, Schizopolis does have cool things of communication and lack there of, and of the true work involved just to get through everyday life.
Schizopolis is a movie that makes sense while not making sense at the same time. There are things that are never explained, and then some things that are sort of explained. We aren’t meant to always understand, but to just go along for the ride and you might learn something along the way. Steven Soderbergh has crafter a hilarious experimental comedy that reminded me of Inland Empire if it was even remotely funny. If you love strange movies and don’t mind things that exist just to exist, check out Schizopolis wherever you can find it.