Nelson Mandela, in his first term as the South African President, initiates a unique venture to unite the apartheid-torn land: enlist the national rugby team on a mission to win the 1995 Rugby World Cup.
In late 1950s New York, Tom Ripley, a young underachiever, is sent to Italy to retrieve Dickie Greenleaf, a rich and spoiled millionaire playboy. But when the errand fails, Ripley takes extreme measures.
Soon after her return from a business trip to Hong Kong, Beth Emhoff dies from what is a flu or some other type of infection. Her young son dies later the same day. Her husband Mitch however seems immune. Thus begins the spread of a deadly infection. For doctors and administrators at the U.S. Centers for Disease Control, several days pass before anyone realizes the extent or gravity of this new infection. They must first identify the type of virus in question and then find a means of combating it, a process that will likely take several months. As the contagion spreads to millions of people worldwide, societal order begins to break down as people panic. Written by
Consultant Dr. Ian Lipkin - professor of epidemiology at Columbia University's Mailman School of Public Health - said the virus in the film is one he created based on some traits of the Nipah virus from Malaysia in the late 1990s which spread from pigs to farmers. See more »
When Dr. Cheever leaves Roger's house after vaccinating Roger's son, the first shot shows his car parked on the wrong side of the street, with a huge pile of trash only 3 feet in front of the car. In the next shot from Cheever's point of view, the pile of trash is on the other side of the street, across the street from his car, instead of in front of it. See more »
One would think that the last thing we need is another outbreak movie. But that's not the case when the latest of the genre is directed by the always interesting Steven Soderbergh. Contagion wins for this years most ridiculously impressive cast lineup, as it is an ensemble picture about a deadly viral outbreak that affects the entire world. We follow various characters like a man who loses his wife and step son to the disease. We follow various doctors who work to stop the virus, along with CDC officials who must control the spread and influence of the virus. The whole film is a tightly woven dramatic thriller that presents a lot of characters and a lot of ideas, but keeps them all in line and pulls its story off very well.
It's not always easy to keep an ensemble cast straight, especially when the main plot of the film is run by subplots from the various characters and their stories that continue throughout the film. The stories weave in and out of each other at times, but often they are all separate, just lead by the same main plot of a viral outbreak affecting the entire population of the world. Thankfully, Contagion interweaves its characters and story lines at just the right intervals, forming a very structured and well crafted end result. There are essentially four main stories that intertwine. There's the father character's story, the CDC, the scientists trying to stop the disease, and a blogger who claims to already have a cure for the disease. These four stories get basically equal screen time and all serve a purpose towards thickening the film's plot. The way they work together and separate is impressive and makes for a very strong overall narrative.
Soderbergh takes a very minimalist approach to Contagion, steering clear of anything flashy or exaggerated and avoiding over-dramatic relationships and big budget set pieces. This makes Contagion a very unique experience and something much different from your typical viral outbreak flick. It does lag in spots as the film attempts to stretch out certain things without doing anything flashy. The film takes a very low key and eerily monotone approach to its storytelling. It seems to choose the simplest solution to things which in turn makes it a more fascinating and much more realistic feeling than something glitzy and spastic. I certainly feel that Contagion paints the best picture of what would actually happen should a serious outbreak like this occur. This, of course, makes it all the more frightening.
Contagion is certainly a film worth seeing. It takes a much different approach to a genre we thought we were so familiar with. Soderbergh's poignant direction and Scott Z. Burns' sharp script give this film a great atmosphere, and the incredible cast lineup makes it all the better. It is undeniably slow at points, but when you put in the context of a film of this quality it doesn't matter nearly as much. This is a great way to kick off the fall season for film.
105 of 146 people found this review helpful.
Was this review helpful to you?