Friday, 7 December 2012

Film Review: CONTAGION (2011) – Re-visited

Contagion - poster Director: Steven Soderbergh
Writer: Scott Z. Burns
Running time: 106 mins (approx)
Certification (UK): 12

Genre: Drama/Sci-Fi/Thriller
UK Release date: 21st October 2011

Watched on Sky+ Friday 7th December 2012.


I saw this film in the cinema when it came out in October 2011; I remember it was pretty good and so decided to give it a second look. I like to sometimes give a film a second look because there is so much you can miss on a first viewing plus you get an opportunity to maybe follow more closely certain aspects of the plot that may have been lost. Surprisingly, without looking, I gave it exactly the same score as first time around so the filmmakers must have done something right! Here’s a brief plot summary before I give you my thoughts.

Contagion - 4 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, Dr. Erin Mears, to Minnesota where help is needed. A blogger, Alan Krumwiede, picks up on the story and uses it to enhance his reputation online and also make some financial gain. 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 but she runs into a spot of local trouble (to put it mildly). 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.

CONTAGION 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), but woefully underused. Honourable mentions go to Elliott Gould as Dr. Ian Sussman and Bryan Cranston as Lyle Haggerty.

Contagion - 5 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 does take 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; by then it wasn’t relevant. Over all though, an interesting film that has some attention-grabbing imagery; you will be washing your hands afterwards (I guarantee it). A stellar cast gives it a boost but it’s really a very well made ‘B Movie’ with aspirations (IMO)… Still, well worth a look.

SteelMonster’s verdict: RECOMMENDED

My score: 7.2/10

IMDb Score: 6.7/10 (based on 107,321 votes at the time of going to press).

MetaScore: 70/100: (Based on 38 critic reviews provided by at the time of going to press).

Rotten Tomatoes ‘Tomatometer’ Score: 84/100 (based on 235 reviews counted at the time of going to press).

Contagion - 2 Rotten Tomatoes ‘Audience’ Score: 61/100 ‘Liked It’ (based on 70,389 user ratings counted at the time of going to press).

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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.

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