This Movie Is Sick

8 Sep

If you’re anything like me, you’re gonna need to take a long Purell shower after seeing Contagion, Steven Soderbergh’s thriller about a mysterious airborne illness that wipes out a significant portion of the world’s population.

And that’s just for starters.

You won’t be able to touch a glass or piece of silverware in a restaurant, put your hand on a subway pole, or pass along a folder in your office.

You won’t want to eat bacon, or give another person a hug, either.

Heck, you may as well just stay home and contain yourself so you don’t incur any risk of catching a similar virus.

Of course, I’m exaggerating there, but only a little.

Contagion is a completely alarmist movie, one that’ll make you uncomfortable from the first sound of a cough on screen.

That cough comes from Beth Emhoff (Gwyneth Paltrow), who arrives home from a business trip to Hong Kong not feeling quite right. She infects her son, and within days, they’re both dead — to the shock of her husband, Tom (Matt Damon), who is somehow (and unexplainably) immune.

The quickly spreading disease affects others both in China and the United States, as well as in Europe and other parts of the world, and soon members of the CDC and WHO (played by Kate Winslet, Laurence Fishburne, and Marion Cotillard) are on the case trying to find the source and create a vaccine.

Oh, and there’s also a conspiracy theorist (Jude Law) who believes the government is not really doing the best it can to help those affected and stop the spread of the disease.

Scared yet?

An effectively made movie, Contagion moves as quickly as the mysterious disease, helped along by some strong performances (Fishburne in particular imbues his role with a whole lot of gravitas) and a score by Cliff Martinez that’s reminiscent of the techno/industrial sound in The Social Network.

Some of the dialogue and plot devices (oh my God, he just touched that!!) are a bit corny, and Soderbergh loves to linger over things like a bowl of peanuts sitting on a bar, but overall, you can’t watch Contagion without feeling like you’ll never go to the bathroom and not wash your hands again, and you won’t be able to scold someone who doesn’t cover his mouth when he coughs.

Oh, and just a warning, you’re gonna see more of Gwyneth Paltrow than you ever thought you would.

Good times, for sure.

If this review seems a little over the top, that’s because it’s in keeping with the tone of the movie, which is similarly heightened. But it’s a good movie, all things considered — much better than Outbreak, anyway.

I’m giving Contagion a B+.

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5 Responses to “This Movie Is Sick”

Trackbacks/Pingbacks

  1. 5 Reasons Why Guys Shouldn’t Be Embarrassed About Seeing “Magic Mike” « Martin's Musings - June 29, 2012

    […] know Steven Soderbergh: He’s the Oscar-winning director of Traffic, Contagion, The Informant!, and of course, Ocean’s 11, 12, and […]

  2. How’s Your Head? « Martin's Musings - February 7, 2013

    […] Contagion, Steven Soderbergh made us all compulsive hand-washers, lest we come down with a sickness worse […]

  3. This Is Not What I Signed Up For | Martin's Musings - March 21, 2013

    […] close-ups, will make you uncomfortable, and the sound design, featuring a score by Cliff Martinez (Contagion) and Skrillex, a voiceover narration that at times makes the film feel like the work of a deranged […]

  4. Dead Movie Walking | Martin's Musings - June 21, 2013

    […] World War Z is loosely based on the best-selling book by Max Brooks and directed by Marc Forster (who directed the similarly underwhelming Bond flick Quantum of Solace). The novel is an oral history, a series of anecdotes told by the survivors about what happened during the zombie infestation. Forster’s taken that conceit, added a big-time star, and made the whole thing a rather formulaic narrative. And not for the better: World War Z is a murky looking movie with not enough urgency or thrills to please horror fans — or people who like good movies. In a way, it’s like a more somber version of Steven Soderberg’s Contagion. […]

  5. World War Z: Movie Review | Popblerd!! - June 22, 2013

    […] World War Z is loosely based on the best-selling book by Max Brooks and directed by Marc Forster (who directed the similarly underwhelming Bond flick Quantum of Solace). The novel is an oral history, a series of anecdotes told by the survivors about what happened during the zombie infestation. Forster’s taken that conceit, added a big-time star, and made the whole thing a rather formulaic narrative. And not for the better: World War Z is a murky looking movie with not enough urgency or thrills to please horror fans — or people who like good movies. In a way, it’s like a more somber version of Steven Soderberg’s Contagion. […]

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