After seeing this movie, you will feel the need to bathe in hand
sanitizer for a week and will look cross-eyed at every person who
coughs within a 10-foot radius of your position. If I was a cruel
person, I would invite Howie Mandel to the Hollywood premiere just to
see the germaphobe go crazy.
Gwyneth Paltrow stars as Beth - a corporate executive on business
travel to Hong Kong, who picks up some strange virus that quickly
spreads to everyone she comes into contact with. As the virus becomes a
full blown pandemic killing so many people a mass panic has begun, Dr.
Erin Mears (Kate Winslet) is sent to Beth's Minneapolis home to figure
out how to treat people, including Beth's husband, Mitch (Matt Damon),
Dr. Leonora Orantes (Marion Cotillard) is sent to Hong Kong to figure
out where this virus came from, Dr. Ellis Cheever (Laurence Fishburne)
is in charge of finding a cure and a meddlesome blogger, Alan (Jude
Law), stirs up public sentiment against the government.
Who will live and who will die?
Can a cure be found before civilization as we know it ends?
Is this organic, or did someone start a biological terrorist attack on
Director Steven "I didn't really mean it when I said I was retiring"
Soderbergh and writer Scott Z. Burns make Contagion into an
irresistible mystery and horror movie. On the mystery end, we see the
professionals weeding through experiments and data to find the identity
of this odd, out-of-nowhere virus as well as attempt to find a cure
before all of society is lost.
Then, Contagion almost feels like a horror movie as we see a
patient develop the early symptoms of the disease, pass it along to
other, unsuspecting victims and physically deteriorate to the
inevitable conclusion. Instead of covering your eyes every time someone
walks into a dark room, you are wincing when someone rubs their red
nose. It's taught, tense, and shocking to watch, but does draw some
laughter at inopportune moments.
Most of all, you have to marvel at how Soderbergh is able to tell so
many stories in a tight time frame, and with little dialogue. Scenes
are visual flashes without long discussions or involved speeches. Yet,
we get just enough to understand what is happening to the characters
involved with that moment and their overall story arcs. It's an
efficient way of presenting the stories, but makes you wish you had
more details about some of them, as the story with Dr. Orantes is lost
for most of the movie, as well as the possible military component with
the great, underrated Brian Cranston as a commander worried this could
be a terrorist attack.
Contagion is a movie that gets under your
skin, and makes you wonder about that suspicious guy on the bus who
won't stop sniffling.
Contagion is rated PG-13 for disturbing content
and some language