Believe it or not, the film shocases a 'hero' who gets off on videotaping women as they talk about sex, there's isn't a single iota of nudity, and it still manages to be successful!After a nine-year hiatus from his hometown of Baton Rougue, law school-dropout James Spader returns in a beat-out white convertible, clad in black clothes, and bearing very little in the way of material possessions -- except that of a video camera, which he uses to interview women about sex, which manages to arouse his impotent self to orgasm. He seeks temporary refuge in the home of old college buddy Peter Gallagher and wife Andie MacDowell, where he manages to repel the former and fascinate the latter. Also figuring into things is the wife's randy sister (newcomer Laura San Giocomo), who's carrying on a torrid affair with the husband and an antagonistic one with her sibling. This landmark independent film by debuting writer/director Steven Soderbergh is an uncommonly perceptive personal drama that revels in talk and how people relate to one another; Soderbergh is that rare filmmaker who knows how to shoot dialogue scenes interestingly -- he doesn't go the killjoy Cassavetes route by emptying the film of visual snap to slavishly cater to talking heads. And the performances, excepting MacDowell's (which is forced and mannered), are wonderful, with Spader the standout. He's mesmerizing as a man all too aware of his past faults and none too forgiving of them; as atonement for them, he's isolated himself from society, sublimating his considerable intelligence to fuse with an emotionally distanced demeanor that's wasting his life away. Soderbergh paints himself into an artistic in the end, not knowing quite how to end things in as unorthodox a way as he started, so, alas, a bit of conventionality is employed to sum things up. Yet the film leaves quite the lingering impression. It's not every film you get excited from just by watching and listening to characters converse and interact, but such is the glorious case here. Winner of the Best Film and Actor prize at Cannes.The only thing really sad aboout looking at this film in retrospect is that Spader should have been propelled into the top echelon of Hollywood actors. That never happened, alas, and he's now doing time on prime-time TV. Ugh.