Director: Steven Soderbergh
Laurence Fishburne/Dr. Sheever
Marion Cotillard/Dr. Orantes
A killer virus hits the world. A group of Doctors try to figure it out in the name of whipping a cure out of their hats. The human population is affected, Matt Damon is bummed... and… ummm…that’s it. Nope…no Zombies here! NEWMAN!
Wow it’s been a while since this struck me; but looking back at CONTAGION; I aint got shit to spit about it one way or another. I could sum up my feelings about the damn thing in a burp and two sentences and call it a f*cking life. Thing is I gotta write this review...what to say…what to say. Let me give it my best shot! The trailers for CONTAGION were mucho misleading. They made it look like it was a thriller or even a horror flick. It’s not. It’s a drama through and through. If I knew that beforehand; I wouldn’t have covered it as it’s not an Arrow in the Head-ish type of picture. Think a crash course on viruses and the Government’s how-to handle them guide, mixed in with a TV Movie of the week. Now that I think of it; remove the A list cast and there is no reason for this to be on the big screen… in my estimation of course. Like AT ALL! But the question is; did I dig it? It was aight.
If you’re looking for Outbreak Part Deux, this isn’t it. The latter had more action and more genre inclined tendencies. This sucka was bla-bla-bla laced, circumstance driven with a touch of character exploration. Steven Soderbergh handled this puppy the same way he tackled his other multi-character/plot lines celluloid pooch Traffic. So on the upside; gotta give it this, it tagged me off the bat and led me by the nose like a coke hoe following a pinch of powder resting on the tip of my dong, pretty much till the end. The happenings moved at a steady pace and were always engaging. So that’s something…right? On an aesthetics standpoint, it had potent visuals, tight editing and some badass techno music to hold on to. Yup, I was digging following these Doctors around as they tried to find out the source of the virus, how to control it and how to cure it. I actually learned a lot about viruses and the Government’s process as to dealing with them due to this movie; but forgot half of it by the time I got home and cracked open that first beer…so I guess I learned “some” things. Better than jack-all.
This one’s main strength though, had to be its stand out cast. Laurence Fishburne (in one of his best roles in a while, dude owned it), Kate “man I love her” Winslet, and Jennifer Ehle all shined as the virus busters and they kept me in the game via their grounded and intense shows. And when the flick wasn’t dealing with the MDs and the ball breaking virus; it was taking a gander at the dude in the middle aka Jude Law (who had a blast with the role, love them teeth) and at how the population was affected by the epidemic. Matt Damon’s character and his plight acted as our window into that angle. Damon was definitely up to the task, giving a convincing and unassuming performance. Sadly he didn’t have enough to do if ya ask me or my cum rag named Ga-Ga. Which brings me to my main beef with the movie; it brushed over too many things for me to give a damn 100%. As much as I grooved to following some brainiacs around as they attempted to get a grasp on that damn virus; the “regular” folks point of view would have interested me even more if they actually did something with it that went beyond the surface. Sure I would sometime get hints that the ante was about to get jacked, which of course would have resulted in some suspense; but alas, that’s all I got… freaking hints that went nowhere.
The easiest way I could put it is: there was a lot going on here but yet not enough going on. We had all kinds of plot lines and a f*ckload of characters and most of them weren’t given enough attention to fully matter. The film would often ignore some of them for too long as well. I’d forget they were in the film in the first place! Where did Elliot “great man” Gould go? Why was Marion Cotillard MIA for the bulk of the ride? And what is it me or did the speed at which the virus progressed vary? Throw away characters; its fast. One of the leads; its slow. Made no sense to moi. Finally; the film suffered from the “not knowing when to end” syndrome. My patience was tested during them last 15 minutes; it’s over man; LET IT GO and let them credit roll already!
All in all; CONTAGION was a well paced and well shot film with a stellar cast but in about, ummm, I say 3 days or so, I will totally forget that I saw it. But that’s just me! I just checked online and it’s getting lots of very good reviews. And my bro and I did talk about it a lot afterward. So who knows? So you going to get own with this sickness or what? Your call!
Some light blood here and there and infected peeps looking like ass!
T & A
CONTAGION was gripping, moved fast, had a top notch cast who were on top of their games and some powerful audio/visual ploys. Too bad the flick was so busy that it didn’t run with the potential it set up and half assed some characters/plot lines. And yeah, the finale dragged. I seem to be saying this a lot now of late (hey its dumping month after all) but yeah; see this one on DVD; it’s not big screen material in my book of blood. This quote from Brad Pitt in Seven pretty much sums my feelings: “You're no messiah. You're a movie of the week. You're a fucking t-shirt, at best.” Do with that what you will. DONE!
The flick had a a production budget of $60 million.
The script was written by Scott Z. Burns who also wrote The Bourne Ultimatum (2007) and The Informant! (2009).
Kate Winslet shot her role in 10 days.
Jennifer Connelly was considered for Gwyneth Paltrow's part.