Oops, looks like I had a slip up! For some reason I was certain that Contagion was releasing this week but it seems I got lost among the backlog of reviews still waiting to be written – my bad. Anyway, here’s a mini-review to give you all an idea of what you’re in for.
Director: Steven Soderbergh
Cast: Matt Damon, Kate Winslet and Jude Law
Running time: 105 minutes
Age restriction: 13
Release date: 21 October 2011
Once upon a time, the scariest things we could imagine were tentacled monsters, robots with human brains, and blood sucking vampires. In 2011, nothing strikes fear into a persons heart like the common cold – scary stuff indeed.
Contagion plays like a finely crafted machine – it is carefully tuned, perfectly timed and gets the job done with great results. Soderbergh manages to carefully balance multiple storylines within the film, namely the family who has to carry on throughout the battle as the grief stricken common man; the team of scientists attempting to find a cure; an analyst whose mission it is to find the source of the disease; and the cooky reporter trying to uncover a government conspiracy. All these plots come together nicely and it is a welcome surprise to see such a large cast being orchestrated so seamlessly.
In the same way that the machine has achieved perfection, it also becomes predictable. Well, Contagion is not so much predictable as it is objective. By objective I mean that it conveys realism and reality isn’t always filled with the climaxes that define the film medium. The plot moves methodically with the set pieces never travelling into the realm of suspense and genuine fear. Rather, Contagion takes the approach illustrating a global pandemic in the form of a text book for a worst case scenario. The disease will appear as if from nowhere and nobody will know what it is; next the virus will claim more lives and the government will become aware of its pattern; in the days to come, the media will sensationalise the disease thereby pulling the masses into frenzy and so on and so on.
It’s unsurprising but it’s still compelling and that is thanks to the movie working as a whole. Despite it being a technically good film though, it just isn’t very enjoyable, the mood is really low key and doesn’t delve into the deep emotions of the characters that it could have so easily done. The acting is superb for what it is but I still feel that the cast’s skills could have been utilised better – especially considering the triple A ensemble that’s at Soderbergh’s disposal.
One thing you may walk out of the cinema with is the inexplicable need to wipe everything you touch with disinfecting lotion. Me? I choose not to live in fear.
Stay tuned to In The Kan – this week I’ll have my reviews for 30 Minutes or Less, and In Time up along with the box office along with a new feature that I think you’ll all enjoy!