She’s paid a visit by Jonathan Banks (Jude Law), a psychiatrist who, after another suicide attempt and consulting her previous doctor (Catherine Zeta-Jones), prescribes Emily with an experimental anti-depressant called Ablixa. The only side effect seems to be sleepwalking; that is, until it’s not.
Directed by Steven Soderbergh, working with a script by Scott Z. Burns (who also penned Contagion and The Informant! for the prolific filmmaker), Side Effects begins as a drama, then at different times becomes a murder story, a thriller, a legal procedural, a romance, a conspiracy tale, and a con movie. Many of these elements emerge through the movie’s twists, which there are far too many of and only make the story, at times, far-fetched and detaching.
But overall, Side Effects works as a thriller—not about the evil ways and tactics of the American drug industry or the horrors of prescription medications that will send you into an instant panic like Contagion did with viruses, but about…well, let’s not give it away. But there are constantly scenes that make us question the identities and motives of every character involved that keep us on our toes until the credits roll—and that’s what a strong thriller should do.
Side Effects goes overboard on the forced twists and arrives at a somewhat unsatisfactory conclusion, but it’s compelling around those edges. This is a film that shows Soderbergh working with material that lies somewhere between his blockbusters and his indies, and handling it with the same skill and confidence.
Ablixa Website Experience lets viewers browse through the fictional drug’s website and get a free evaluation by Dr. Jonathan Banks M.D.
Ablixa Commercial (0:54)
Intenin Commercial (0:48)
Also included are a DVD, a Digital Copy and UltraViolet.