Sep 20, 2011

Contagion Movie Review

Contagion Movie Review

Cast: Matt Damon, Jude Law, Gwyneth Paltrow, Kate Winslet, Laurence Fishburne, Jennifer Ehle, Marion Cotillard
Direction: Steven Soderbergh


Gwyneth Paltrow returns home to Minneapolis from a business meeting in Hong Kong with something as innocuous as a cough and a headache. Within two days she is dead and the doctors tell her grieving husband, Matt Damon, they don't know why she died. Before Damon can come to terms with his loss, the epidemic spreads the world over and nearly millions succumb to it within a short span of time. Panic spreads, governments are thrown into a tizzy, riots break out and the profiteers begin to reap gold. Can a civilised world cope with a deadly virus or are we still as ill-equipped as we were during the plague outbreak?

Movie Review:

Contagion is topical, slick, fast-paced and embellished with a stellar ensemble cast that keeps you engrossed in the drama, despite the fact that most of them don't take much of screen time. The three doctors, Kate Winslet, Jennifer Ehle and Marion Cotillard make brief appearances in the film, but their contribution to the development of the plot is by no means minimal. Laurence Fishburne, as the reputed official representative, torn between principles and a personal transgression for a loved one, is as human as you can get. How many people wouldn't use their clout and break the queue to get a vaccine for somebody they love? Hardly any. Matt Damon as the common man left at the mercy of fumbling officialdom and social anarchy etches a picture perfect role of a man desperate to save his daughter, even if it means locking her up at home and depriving her of all social contact. Then, there is Gwyneth Paltrow, quite unforgettable as the deliciously naughty business woman who doesn't mind hooking up with her ex, while her husband and son wait for her at home: another brief role that last longer than its screen time. And finally, Jude Law as the rogue blogger is mesmerising with his rebellious streak that chooses to question all the players in this high drama and throw light on the nefarious deals between governments and pharmaceutical companies which make the most when death strikes.

The high point of Soderbergh's film is its tone: never sensationalist, always restrained and therefore credible. With the world grappling with sundry new epidemics -- SARS, Mad Cow Disease, Swine Flu -- Contagion has an expediency to it which makes it eminently watchable. Doesn't seem too far-fetched, this threat of a new and deadly disease that originates from a bat and a pig and spreads through something as unavoidable as human touch. Time to be scared. Really scared.