Contagion’s director Steven Soderbergh recently announced he was retiring from making films. A great shame as he has been one of the recent few successfully blending an independent sensibility within commercially driven stories. Contagion is a good example as it bases its stirring tale with harsh facts. While it doesn’t totally succeed in entertaining while it educates, his strong visual style ensures Contagion is a thought-provoking tale of fear and paranoia.
When an unknown disease hits world-wide mass panic ensues. Affecting millions the attempts at containing the virus become more important than finding a cure. Mitch (Matt Damon) and Alan (Jude Law) race against the clock to prevent further catastrophe to those around them.
Catching any type of unknown disease is something everyone fears. This is why Contagion is captivating and uncomfortable viewing exploring people’s differing reactions. From using the disease for self-gain to fighting for survival, not one person’s aim is the same as it grips the global populace. The screenplay shows characters at various rungs of the social ladder with their background determining reactions. The large ensemble fit into the narrative with ease even if some of their characters aren’t given much chance to shine.
Contagion is often engaging if not as gripping as it could have been. There’s no particular sense of drama despite the catastrophic situation. Although Soderbergh didn’t need to adhere to the usual Hollywood histrionics his interpretation of the story feels more clinical than emotive. The occasionally intrusive score doesn’t help either although the cinematography achieves the level of visual realism for which he strives.
Hopefully Soderbergh will re-think his professional stance by continuing to make quality movies like Contagion. Anyone fearless in broadening the mind of their audience is much needed with works such as this a haven for those over-come by multi-plex banality.
Movie Review Rating out of 10: 6
Movie Review by Patrick Moore
If you have any comments to make about this Movie Review, then please use the comment box, titling your comments with Movie Review Contagion
Patrick Moore's Movie Review is an alternative look at current movie releases in Australia.