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the movie was great, it really showcased what a pandemic that kills
millions of people would be like, however the ending was truly
cinematic beauty at its best, without spoiling what the pandemic does
to mankind, the ending of the movie casually shows the bat/pig/first
human exposure that lead to the movies events, and its chilling to
watch, to know how much destruction that was wrecked against the world
on the back of a little bat flapping its bat wings towards a pig pen,
where it dropped a bit of food that was then eaten by the pig that was
the movie truly is spine chilling when looked at from the perspective of the film being told followed by the a quaint scene involving a bat a pig and a man
This was a good movie. I had been meaning to watch it for months, never got around to it, saw Steven Soderbergh's more recent movie that is in theaters currently (Side Effects), finally got a hold of the movie, watched it, and was pleased. What an all-star cast, though, disappointingly, a couple of them aren't featured for very long. The movie actually got me interested in how things like this work and made me want to learn more about sicknesses, diseases, viruses, etc. It also sort of reminded me of the first season (or was it the second?) of The Walking Dead as both featured the Centers for Disease Control in Atlanta. Lawrence Fishburne did a great job, as did Marion Cotillard. I would have liked to have seen Matt Damon's character more in-control and bad-a$$ like the old days as Jason Bourne, but I suppose that was not his character this time around. I'd recommend you check it out, if you can stand a good bit of talking mixed in with the suspense.
#10 on movies I saw in 2011
No horror movie has ever truly frightened me.
I've jumped frequently and been tense at one moment or another, but the most vicious ghoul or hideous monster has ever struck lasting fear because deep down, everything being thrown on the screen is pure make- believe. It wasn't until the smallest attacker presented itself that the paranoia stayed with me as I left the theater.
From Steven Sonderbergh, the Oscar-winning director of Traffic, Contagion is a frightful drama in a tangible way that is much too easy to relate to. Instead of relying on frightening characters and using extravagant effects, the doomsday film involves the audience, allowing it to surpass that which is typical of its drama.
The concept of a supervirus with no known cure is not altogether unfamiliar. Everyone remembers the recent H1N1 scare that prompted widespread fear and a consequent rushed vaccination. Contagion asks the question, "What if an infection were as severe and widespread as feared?"
Rather than give a concrete answer, the empty shell of characters go through the life of the new disease, starting on day two. The steps that are taken do not necessarily show what would happen or even what might happen, but the story does cast a light on the political, social, economic and logistic problems that come with a virus epidemic.
Just as Traffic was a look into the drug trade and the stories of people involved, either directly or indirectly, Contagion is a glance at humanity and the assumptions and interactions that surround public health.
While watching, I found myself angry at those who doubted the severity of the situation. I scoffed at the many who disregarded the correct procedures to limit exposure. Yet, during the H1N1 scare I found myself sick in bed for two days after ignoring the suggestion of vaccination.
The movie can be slow at times but is driven well by an outstanding score by Cliff Martinez. While still sticking to his trademark of strong guitar riffs and heavy percussion, Martinez takes a note from 2010's Oscar winning score for The Social Network and fills the movie with electronic melodies and fast moving overlays that add another layer of tension to already stressful situations.
Where the lead characters played by Matt Damon, Laurence Fishburne and Jude Law were primarily flat and empty, the plot was dense and filled with interest. Several different layers existed within each aspect of the virus' progression. Even now, I'm just beginning to realize the huge significance of some of the smallest scenes or pieces of dialogue.
During the movie, I found myself fully conscious of every time I went to scratch my nose or rub my eyes and found myself wondering who had sat in this seat before me. Suddenly, the world of germs wasn't just something to be feared.
After an ending that makes the on-screen situation all too possible, the next big scare won't be so easy to dismiss.
Usually, a film with the same subject as Contagion features a valiant
hero, his girlfriend, some helpful characters that either die, betray
and die or don't really matter and a egotistical bad guy. In the end,
they save the day. Sodebergh doesn't do that. Instead, his perspective
on the matter is so clinical that the film ends up exaggerating in the
The directing is close to perfect, great actors act great while leaving the stereotypes we are accustomed of associating with them, the story is so realistic the scientific community applauded it. There is, however, no real lead character. There is no major character development, either. In lack of a few people to identify with, one empathizes with no one or with all people at once. And it is hard to feel that way with a human society described realistically.
Bottom line: This was like a Hurt Locker for contagious diseases. The movie missed an important human component, though, and failed to connect with the audience at the level it deserved. Other than that, it is just perfect.
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
Having seen a few weeks ago Side Effects I was reflecting that maybe
Steven Soderbergh would not necessarily do a bad thing taking a break
from directing. Well, I had not seen 'Contagion' yet, one of his
previous movies. To use the terms of the story in this movie, the
origin of the disease can be traced way back.
The world is in danger in Contagion as a deadly flue virus originating (where else?) in South-East Asia is spreading around the world, killing first individuals, than thousands, than millions. Governments, corporations, the World Health Organization, become all engaged in a race to find the roots of the disease, to stop its spreading and contagion, to find a cure. The problem with the film is that there are too many threads, none of them extremely interesting or surprising, some going nowhere. For example a researcher seems to have found a cure but is ordered to stop research and destroy the samples - we never learn why, last time we see him he seems to disobey the orders and then he just disappears for the rest of the film. An Internet blogger and journalist claim that cure exists and proves it on its own body, but this thread never connects with the rest of the film. If the purpose of director Soderbergh is to show chaos on screen he did succeed, but it's more film-making chaos than everything else. There were a few moments when it seemed that the film heads towards showing the impact of a catastrophic disease on the fabric of the American society, but these were also wasted in too expected scenes of army in the streets and supermarket plundering, lost and forgotten soon enough, as brave scientists discover the cure and test it on themselves to speed the solution. The script is disappointing, a collection of TV soap episodes concentrated to a few minutes each and badly interconnected.
The cast is certainly impressive. Heaving on screen in the same film Kate Winslet, Jude Law, Matt Damon, Marion Cotillard, Gwyneth Paltrow, and a few other who would alone hold a movie on their shoulders is certainly a performance for the producer and a pleasure for spectators. Fans should however be warned that some of them die young in this film, and none has the opportunity to play a role that will be remembered for a long time. Despite the gathering of talents Contagion is a confusing and chaotic film.
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
The background of this movie was set with a lot of potential: A
pandemic without warning, an outbreak that seemed to be so deadly - it
is all a great foundation for a great movie to be made, but I think
it's only fair to say that the outcome wasn't so great considering what
could have been in my mind.
The overall film gave a story of many characters (I.E. A man who lost his wife and son and is desperately trying to keep his daughter alive, a scientist on level zero, even citizens of daily life etc.) - these are all great aspects that gave the movie color and showed many different facets of the society in that of an outbreak, but they seemed to lack a focus point. What is the big build- up? Or even the main point? Was it humanity and the selfish nature of others? Was it the unexpected rise of a disease and how easy it is to take a life?
The movie had a thrilling start, showing the start of the outbreak in day by day format, showing the audience immediately the number of problems presented. It did get me on the edge of my seat for the duration of it, but soon everything started to break apart. Threads got pulled from the point, but didn't join together again. It was a disappointment to such a good start.
Beth Emhoff (Gwyneth Paltrow) arrives back in America after a trip to
Hong Kong displaying symptoms of a serious illness. Her husband Mitch
(Matt Damon) rushes her to hospital after she suffers a violent fit,
only for her to die there. Puzzled about the virus, doctors quarantine
Mitch and alert Dr. Cheever (Laurence Fishburne) of the CDC. Cheever
sets about growing the virus to find a potential cure, and sends Dr.
Mears (Kate Winslet), an Epidemic Intelligence Officer, to begin the
investigation. Internet blogger Alan Krumwiede (Jude Law) runs with the
virus and apparently cures himself from the disease by taking
forsythia, an alternative medicine, and therefore causes a mad panic
for the drug. While Dr. Orantes (Marion Cotillard), an epidemiologist,
travels to Hong Kong to discover the root of the virus.
Similar to director Steven Soderbergh's film career, Contagion is a mixed bag. The first two thirds of this film are quite exceptional - exciting, intelligent, and often fascinating. Yet it burns itself out towards the end, as the distribution of the vaccine becomes the central focus, and the film loses its edge. But at the same time, the film's dedication to realism is admirable, even though it does affect the films quality. The ultra-talented and multi-Academy Award nominated/winning cast are exceptional, with Jude Law's slimy, dentally-challenged journalist, and Winslet exhausted yet dedicated investigator proving the stand-outs. I usually hate Jude Law, but he is at his best when he plays arseholes - Closer (2004), The Talented Mr. Ripley (1999), I Heart Huckabees (2004) - and he is at his most despicable here.
Law's character is at the centre of one of the film's themes about mass hysteria and panic, as he uses the power of the Internet to send the country into a spiral of looting and violence. It's an interesting commentary on how small the world has become with the introduction of blogging and social networking, and how this can be abused for personal gain. Krumwiede has no scientific fact or support behind him, just a webcam and a computer, and the results are quite terrifying.
Soderbergh wanted to make this as realistic as possible, and Contagion received praise from scientific institutions for its accuracy. Similar to his excellent 2000 film Traffic, Soderbergh explores the subject from the ground floor upwards. From Damon's struggling father trying desperately to shield his daughter from the virus, way up to Fishburne's CDC agent fighting against it on a global level. Watching it unfold, and seeing the political and social implications that stems from it is quite fascinating. But when that final third arrives, story threads become stale, and Soderbergh seems to lose interest in certain characters (Cotillard suffers the most), and the film fizzles out. Disappointing, but the film's thrilling beginning and middle certainly make the film worth a watch.
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
Contagion is a film put together in a couple of hours to make some
money. A real lack of any storyline. there are many things that don't
match up for example SPOILER When the disease spreads, a camera shot is
shown of airports around America and the world empty. Yet later on in
the film when Dr. Leonora Orantes (Marion Cotillard) is free from the
Chinese people that took her there is a scene where her and a college
are in a packed airport full of people!!! THIS DOESN"T MAKE SENSE!!!!
A lot of the film is filmed in a documentary style. And really does not bring up any riveting or interesting questions that it should when talking about human beings selfishness in times of desperation and survival.
Didn't like it not much to it, was expecting more
Admittedly, then I had really high hopes for this movie, because the
reviews I had read and the words spoken about it had been praising and
commenting well on the story. So I sat down to watch this movie with a
great level of expectation. And also, I wanted to see it because I was
in Hong Kong when SARS broke out, so this movie had an additional
initial appeal for me.
And now having seen the movie, I sit here somewhat dumbfounded. Was that really it? There movie wasn't all that and a bag of potato chips. Sure it deals with a topic that is constantly lying under the surface, a global pandemic crisis. And that storyline was great. However, the movie tried to tell too many tales at the same time and tried to weave them in together somehow, but it just didn't work. The end result was half-hearted because none of the characters had any chance to evolve or shine on the screen, and the story was jumpy, trying to be everywhere at once.
Sure, they had a great bunch of people on the cast list, lots of nice actors and actresses, well-established names, however, the performers just had very little to work with in their characters, and that put the movie back a notch. The most memorable performance was the one by Elliot Gould, and he didn't even have that big a role.
The music score for the movie was quite good, on another note. And it was actually what worked out the best for me, because the movie was a tad jumpy and shallow, wanting to accomplish a lot, but failing to do so, spewing out only mediocre results.
Aside from the music score, what this movie had working for it is the fact that it leaves you with something to think about once the movie is over. Sure, it will not be the performances that will linger in your mind, but the possibility of such a viral outbreak. It happened with SARS and H1N1, so is it just a matter of time before the next? I like that in movies, when they leave you with something to think about. However, I did rate the movie from its entertainment value and its storyline.
"Contagion" is a good attempt at a modern viral outbreak movie, but it just didn't even reach the 1995 movie "Outbreak" to the knees. That movie was far better executed and entertaining.
Remember when a science teacher named Eliot Moore attempted to survive
a disturbing pandemic in Central Park? No? How about when virologist
Colonel Sam Daniels combined monkey antibodies in Cedar Creek? If not,
then you are likely to forget Contagion, Steven Soderberg's germ-based
In the opening scene, Gwyneth Paltrow unleashes a fast-acting lethal virus on Western civilization, and before long, Laurence Fishburne is making important decisions as Matt Damon's dejected everyman protects his daughter, and a uniformed Bryan Cranston makes concerned faces. In between these frantic scenes, a puffy-eyed Marion Cotillard traces the humble bat-pig origins of the deadly virus, while a host of other famous faces pass through, flogging sensational tales and intense gazes.
Critics have referred to this as an "eclectic cast," and "an ensemble piece," but most characters, like janitor John Hawkes or lab-assistant Demetri Martin, are pointless to the point of parody. The sheer number of them makes for some fast-paced editing, and the plot thunders along as a result jumping from Hong Kong, San Francisco, and Tokyo but at what cost? No actor successfully escapes from the one-dimensional script, although Damon comes close with his 'grieving husband,' as does Kate Winslet, who is underused.
Despite this, Contagion still remains a relatively entertaining popcorn movie, and its realistic take on the disaster-film genre is a welcome change from more recent and hammy ones: Roland Emmerich's 2012 and the Spierig brother's Daybreakers come to mind. With rising death tolls and no cure in sight, society rapidly deteriorates with riots and looting in every major capital. It's fine. It's not "bloody terrifying," or some "metathriller" or a "methodical exploration of the threat of pandemics" that is "well worth your time." It's fine.
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