Wednesday, September 14, 2011

MOVIE REVIEW: Contagion



In Short:
Viruses are no joke, and Contagion does a frightening job of proving that fact in this extremely realistic and (I can only assume) extremely accurate portrayal of what would happen if a worldwide pandemic were to occur

Bagpipe-o-Meter:
8.0/10



Full review after the jump…


My Ramblings:
I can't quite explain why, but people, myself included, seem to love the idea of worldwide catastrophes.  The Walking Dead is a smash hit, Swine Flu (the catastrophe that never was) dominated the news for what seemed like a year, and now Contagion tops the box office.   The only kind of books my Dad reads are apocalypse and end-of-the-world books, which for some reason seems odd to me because he is Paramedic.  People love disasters!  And while Contagion focuses on such a disaster, the movie itself is quite the opposite (83% on RT).

Directed by Oscar winner Steven Soderbergh, the film chronicles the day by day evolution of a deadly virus as it sweeps the globe.  First one person is infected, then two, then four, then sixteen, and you see where it goes from there.   The film covers every stage of the outbreak from rumors of its existence, to rapid expansion, to the search for Patient Zero.  Helping to make the film all the more believable and frightening is the cast of A-listers, all of whom you get a glimpse of in the trailer below.

It is a simple topic that we have seen in movies before (Outbreak, 28 Days Later, Twelve Monkeys), but Contagion does an excellent job of capturing the plausibility of such an event and the effect it would have on both an individual and global level. (CNN posted a short video yesterday discussing just how real the possibility of such a pandemic is).  When I was a Sophomore I did a lengthy research paper on the H1N1 Virus (at the height of the scare), and the data out there related to past pandemic outbreaks, current threats, and potential number of infections is scary as hell.  What's even scarier is how little you can do about it on an individual level.  Maybe I go get an industrial size pail of Lysol hand sanitizer?  Start wearing one of those bad ass bubble suits?  Maybe Jack Daniels will fend off the virus?

Straying from my hypochondria, the movie is thrilling and disturbing and intriguing.  The cast is awesome, and it is interesting to see such huge stars playing relatively minor roles in a film, highlighted by Gwyneth Paltrow doing her best Drew Barrymore from Scream impression (not a spoiler because this fact is glaringly obvious in the trailer).  Soderbergh loves to make fast paced movies that grip you and don't let go, and Contagion is no exception.  Overall, an awesome end of Summer thriller that will leave you wanting to set WebMD as your homepage. 

Trailer:



Previews Before the Show:
NOTE: Saw the movie at Sundance Cinemas, so you get some weird previews at that theater, in case your wondering why you may have no seen the same previews at your theater.

Senna - Sundance award winning Documentary about the exhilarating life of Brazilian the race car driver the film is named after.  I know nothing about the man, but the movie looks great and is getting tons of praise so I'm gonna stay in the dark until I go see it.

The Whistleblower - Story of a peacekeeper in Bosnia who stumbles on a U.N. sex scandal and the trouble she faces.  The film stars Rachel Weisz who has always kind of rubbed me the wrong way so I'll most likely pass on this one.

Higher Ground - It is the directorial debut of Vera Farmiga, but other than that I don't recall much because even the sub 2 minute preview couldn't hold my attention.  Looks like a film the artsy critics will love and the common man will despise.

The Descendants - George Clooney as a not so great dad who finds out his wife was cheater on him just after she dies.  That intriguing plot plus some serious Oscar buzz and you've got me hooked.

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