Contagion

September 27, 2011

in Movies

Film (2011)

Directed by Steven Soderbergh
Written by Scott Z. Burns

Cinematography by Steven Soderbergh (as Peter Andrews), Film Editing by Stephen Mirrione, Original Music by Cliff Martinez

With Marion Cotillard (Dr. Leonora Orantes), Matt Damon (Mitch Emhoff), Laurence Fishburne (Dr. Ellis Cheever), Jude Law (Alan Krumwiede), Gwyneth Paltrow (Beth Emhoff), Kate Winslet (Dr. Erin Mears), Bryan Cranston (RADM Lyle Haggerty), Jennifer Ehle (Dr. Ally Hextall), Elliott Gould (Dr. Ian Sussman), Chin Han (Sun Feng), John Hawkes (Roger), Demetri Martin (Dr. David Eisenberg)

Odilon Redon,

Odilon Redon, “The Crying Spider” (1881)

The director of Sex, Lies and Videotape (1989) has turned, in middle-aged success, to a suspense thriller about plague, casual contact, and the search for a cure.

Unsuspecting hands touch papers, move along banisters, handle glasses in restaurants. Unknowingly, germs, really bad ones, get passed. Before you can say influenza three times fast, a full scale epidemic is raging at a furious pace. The story of its spread and control, seen through the eyes of several of its focal characters, forms the template upon which this mega-microbe drama builds. It unfolds and develops energetically but predictably.

But, do the stars abound! Around every turn is another major player making a cameo appearance. Matt Damon, Kate Winslet, Marion Cotillard, Gwyneth Paltrow and a passel of other eminent recognizables careen on and off screen in various states of health. Running a close suspenseful second to the development of the epidemic itself is the suspense of not knowing what Hollywood notable will show up next. Was there an NIH grant that funded the epidemic of star turns in this ER for the pandemic set? How did they all manage to get caught up in Contagion?

Not a bad afternoon’s entertainment. I went with my fourteen year old nephew and we enjoyed ourselves just fine.

Do not go expecting the drama to extend much beyond one dimension and take pleasure in watching this cross fertilization between the New England Journal of Medicine and People magazine.

And, at all costs, do not allow any germophobes you know to get within rubbing distance of this cineplague.

– BADMan

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