Director: Steven Soderbergh
Writer: Scott Z. Burns
Released: September 2011
Starring: Marion Cotillard, Matt Damon, Laurence Fishburne, Jude Law, Gwyneth Paltrow, Jennifer Ehle, Elliot Gould and Kate Winslet
I’m 100% sure I have reviewed Contagion before… But I can’t find it anywhere so I must have only thought about writing about it. Anyway.
Contagion is almost like an apocalyptic film that explores what may happen in the event of a major epidemic that threatens to wipe out much of the population, similar to that of the Spanish flu that killed about 1% of the word’s population at the time (50-100 million people during 1918).
It plays on our fears of being vulnerable and desperate to protect ourselves and our family.
It follows the lives of multiple people such as an ordinary citizen (Matt Damon) whose [cheating] wife (Gweneth Paltrow) is affected by the epidemic (funny how the first person to die is someone who is guilty of having an affair), a doctor (Marion Cotillard) who attempts to trace the origin of the flu, and another doctor (Kate Winslet) who investigates the nature/behaviour of the virus. In the background is Jennifer Ehle’s character who is working hard to find the vaccine to this unknown flu strain.
Meanwhile, we see the ‘faces’ of the epidemic: Laurence Fishburne’s character’s professional opinion is sought after by the Centre of Disease Control, and he is asked to do interviews on the news.
“No one can know until everyone knows”
In the other corner is Jude Law’s character who is a popular conspiracy theorist who attempts to prove that the disease is a bio terrorism weapon used by the government to financially profit from the vaccines. He believes he has found a homeopathic cure for the fatal disease.
It’s so interesting – every opinion is represented by a character, including the medical industry, government and citizens. The conspiracy theorist – although shown in a negative light with little integrity or authenticity (even given a gammy tooth for good measure) – raises a lot of good questions that should be asked. Challenging authority in such situations isn’t necessarily dangerous, but spreading propaganda may well be.
A thrilling ride with lots of interesting ‘what if’ scenarios.
My only criticism is the music. It’s such bizarre music. It’s sort of indie-sci-fi and reminds me of the Blade Runner soundtrack. The noises certainly put you on edge, but I’m not sure it always works with the more emotional scenes.
Jodie’s rating: 7/10