Thursday, February 2, 2012

Contagion

***DISCLAIMER*** The following review is entirely my opinion. If you comment (which I encourage you to do) be respectful. If you don't agree with my opinion, that's fine. To each their own. I am just sharing my opinions and perspective. Finally, the reviews are given on a scale of 1-5. 1, of course, being terrible. 2, being not great. 3, being okay. 4, being good and 5, being epic!

Contagion - 5 out of 5

Thank you, Contagion, now every time I see someone cough, I will coat myself in Purell and run to hide in the deepest, most secluded part of the woods.

Steven Soderbergh directs this chilling film about a world-wide epidemic the likes of which that could make Sars, H1N1 and the Black Plague hire a new PR team.  This film focuses on the first carrier of the disease and follows it as it spreads its death across the globe and shows how the media, the Center for Disease Control and the public handles such an outbreak.  This star-studded feature is both terrifying and incredibly engaging...and as luck would have it, met up with a friend not long after watching it and discovered he had a cold.  You'll never see a man put on a haz-mat suit faster thanks to this one.

Black Friday is even ugly at the pharmacist.



But in all seriousness, Contagion is a spectacular film that does what 99% of horror films released in the last 20 haven't been able to do to me...scare me.  And when I saw scare, I don't mean like, "Oh, that slightly spooked me and made me jump out of my seat" type of scare, I mean, "Man Alive, I am never leaving my home because there's a chance I might die" unsettling.  Soderbergh's work behind the camera delivered a world that is chillingly realistic in its response to such an event--even though when you sit down and look at the virus, how lethal it is and how fast its incubation period is, there is no way such a virus could actually exist without eliminating itself from the tournament of life since it wouldn't be able to spread fast enough to be a epidemic.  The filmmakers knew this and went forward anyway with Soderbergh leading the charge and bringing this fantasy to life while making it eerily grounded and realistic.

"My wife's dead?  I don't like them apples."


Jude Law's pouting again.  Someone get his juicebox.
 Along with Soderbergh's direction (and an unexpected departure from his usual films he works on) the film is overloaded with an amazing cast--so many top shelf actors attached themselves to this film (something not unseen in a Soderbergh film) that I started to expect more and more with every minute that passed in its running length.  Matt Damon, Gwyneth Paltrow, Laurence Fishburne, Jude Law, Marion Cotillard, Kate Winslet and Bryan Cranston just to name a few (was that a few?) of the stars that rip it up in this movie.  Honestly, with all this star power contained within Contagion, I don't know how they afforded anything else within the movie.  I have to assume they got rid of Kraft Services and ate nothing but Ramen Noodles throughout the production.

Somehow comedian Demetri Martin even scammed his way into this movie.


Quick Heisenberg, make some meth, that'll fix everything!
Each actor brings a unique face to the epidemic and each does their role phenomenally.  Paltrow is the first victim and Damon is her grief stricken husband who turns out to have an immunity to the disease.  Fishburne is the overwhelmed director of the CDC forced to figure out where the virus came from, how it works and how to stop it.  Jude Law is a blogger who covers the outbreak and finds himself getting sick and reports on his journey as he takes an experimental cure.  This is just a few of the goings-on that occurs in Contagion and believe me, there's much more going on as this film takes on the outbreak from a global perspective.  On paper, the amount of actors and amount of characters have the potential to overwhelm the film and drown out the central themes of the story but the reality is, with Sodernbergh conducting like a boss behind the camera, a perfect balance was achieved in this film that showcases the mystery, the fear, determination, triumph and hope over such a world-wide event.

"Can we get the cure in the form of a red pill and the placebo in a blue pill?"


The work of all those involved, both in front of and behind the camera, on Contagion deserve praise as the outcome was one of the most chilling and engaging films I've seen in a long time.  The camera work, the lighting, even the film's score and soundtrack blended perfectly with the performances of the actors to create an atmosphere of true suspense.  Now, if you'll excuse me, my throat is feeling a little scratchy and I'm feeling exhausted.  I must be coming down with something...

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