Published Sep 09, 2011I'm not sure I can in good conscious recommend Contagion to anyone at all. It's not that it's a bad film; it's just that seeing it has potentially damaging consequences on your psyche. About ten minutes into it, you might become hyper-aware of your surroundings. Coughing noises will become amplified, while your armrest might suddenly feel stickier than it did when you first sat down.
In fact, by the time you've gotten home from seeing it ― after touching door handles, staircase railings and, god forbid, other people ― you may never want to leave the house again.
Directed by Steven Soderbergh, Contagion stars many an Oscar winner, from Matt Damon and Gwyneth Paltrow to Marion Cotillard and Kate Winslet. For all its familiarity though, it presents itself as a faceless production to demonstrate just how feasible this scenario actually is.
There's no real character development ― there's no time for that ― just different people reacting to a common threat. The peril is a new disease named MEV-1. It is considered novel because humanity has never seen it before and Soderbergh paints what he believes to be a very real picture of how the planet would handle something like this. As you can imagine, we don't do very well.
Contagion isn't as infectious as it could be though ― with so many plots in the air, some are almost forgotten and Soderbergh is none too subtle about how lackadaisical we all are with everything we touch. Still, with this much talent on screen and Soderbergh's brilliant eye, Contagion remains a tense thriller with plenty of casualties and horrifying moments.
The direst thing about it though is the hard reality that even in our darkest hour, humanity still exudes selfishness and greed, leaving every man to fend for himself. Sure, it's a theory, but it's a plausible one and really just another argument to stay indoors. (Warner)