Director: Steven Soderbergh
Running time: 106 mins (approx)
Certification (UK): 12A
UK Release date: 21st October 2011
Watched at the cinema Saturday 21st October 2011.
PLEASE NOTE: THERE MAY BE SPOILERS IN THIS REVIEW.
I only decided to go and see this one after hearing a review on the radio. Prior to that I was undecided because I hadn’t really heard much feedback on it. But having made the decision I settled into my seat at my local cinema and hoped that those guys on the radio knew what they were talking about. Well, it started and went along quite calmly… I wasn’t too bothered; the various threads of the story were being introduced at this stage. It’s still fizzing along quietly for quite a while before things start to get a bit exciting. From then on it does pick up the pace a bit and I could finally see what the guys on the radio were talking about. Here’s a new (and improved) summary before I give you more of my thoughts.
It all starts on Day 2. A woman, Beth Emhoff, is at an airport, returning home from a trip to Hong Kong… and she’s not feeling well. From here we see outbreaks in various parts of the world and we begin to pick up other threads. In Atlanta, Georgia the head of the CDC, Dr. Ellis Cheever, begins to see a potential problem and sends one of his agents to Minnesota where help is needed. A blogger, Alan Krumwiede, picks up on the story and uses it to enhance his reputation online. We pick up the story on the sick woman’s husband, Mitch Emhoff, and his daughter, Jory, (from a previous marriage) and how events affect them. At the World Health Organisation in Geneva, Switzerland an official, Dr. Leonora Orantes, is sent out to Hong Kong to try and discover the source of the outbreak. There are more, minor, threads to this story but these are the main ones. As to the plot, well I really don’t want to say too much about that or the Spoiler Police will be measuring me up for a rhesus monkey suit.
I have to say that Steven Soderbergh assembled a really great cast for this one! Almost everyone who’s anyone has a role (it seems); Gwyneth Paltrow as Beth Emhoff and Matt Damon as Mitch Emhoff were both excellent, as was Laurence Fishburne as Dr. Ellis Cheever and Kate Winslet as Dr. Erin Mears. I thought Jude Law did a great job as Alan Krumwiede (despite a very strange accent). Also worthy of praise was Marion Cotillard as Dr. Leonora Orantes; she was her most excellent best (as ever). Honourable mentions go to Elliott Gould as Dr. Ian Sussman and Bryan Cranston as Lyle Haggerty.
It’s a slow burner but it does eventually pick up. It won’t be to everyone’s taste, but I quite liked it, mostly, it must be said, for the acting talent on display and their abilities. I’m sure lesser known actors would have done a competent enough job but this cast takes it to another level. I did feel that there was maybe one too many threads to follow, but it’s all done quite well as we see the effect this global virus has on society. There is a bit at the end which explains how the contagion started and I really wish that scene had been missed out; it wasn’t relevant (to me anyway). Over all though, an interesting film that’s quite slow to start with, but picks up pace eventually. A stellar cast gives it a boost but it’s really a very well made ‘B Movie’ with aspirations (IMO)… Even so… Recommended (although it won’t be to everyone’s taste).
My score: 7.2/10
IMDb Score: 7.2/10 (based on 12,586 votes when this review was written).
Rotten Tomatoes Score: 84/100 (based on 209 reviews counted when this review was written).
Dr. Ian Sussman: Blogging is not writing. It's just graffiti with punctuation.
Alan Krumwiede: It's a bad day to be a rhesus monkey.
Official Site: http://contagionmovie.warnerbros.com/index.html