A Movie Review of Contagion

by on January 7, 2012

in Entertainment, movie reviews

This is a movie review of Contagion

Contagion movie poster

Contagion cast includes Gwyneth Paltrow, Matt Damon, Laurence Fishburne, Jude Law, Marion Cotillard, & Kate Winslet amongst a larger ensemble.

Steven Soderbergh directing in Contagion

The movie is directed by Steven Soderbergh (We Need to Talk About Kevin) and has a runtime of 106 minutes and is rated PG-13.

Contagion starts out on ‘Day 2,’ as we follow Paltrow’s character going from Hong Kong, and headed home, to Minnesota.

We are then shown several opening moments or scenes that introduce several story points. We watch one man staggering through public locations, obviously sick. In London, we see a girl who is not feeling too well.

On day 3, we find ourselves at the CDC and introduced to Fishburne‘s character, and then in San Francisco, Law’s character, whose a blogger, a sort of smoking gun kind of blogger.

Gwyneth Paltrow in Contagion

On day 4 we watch Paltrow go into a frothing seizure in her kitchen and later dies in the kitchen. Her son dies later that day. (BTW, she’s married to Matt Damon’s character.)

Day 5 finds us at the World Health Organization. By this time, the world has seen 47 cases and 8 deaths and it’s looking like the CDC and WHO are starting to fully understand what is happening and what they’re up against.

Contagion is a fascinating movie. It’s not a mind-blowing action film but rather a sedate, methodical story that explores the possibilities when a world outbreak of a deadly disease happens. There are scenes that drive home the premise of how something like this can spread, via touching each other, surfaces around us, or breathing the infected air we sit in. It’s a bit creepy to think how easy it is to contract something.

Matt Damon in Contagion

We see the political concerns between organizations as they fight the disease. We follow the experiences of the civilian played by Matt Damon, who happens to be immune to the disease.

And we find ourselves almost believing the blogger played by Jude Law, who is convinced that the government is hiding facts about this new epidemic. (In the movie Elliott Gould says to someone that blogs are like graffiti with punctuation marks. LOL. Hmm…. )

Contagion is a slow, consistent burn of a movie the delivers a great story about humanity and how it can react when pushed to the limits of extinction. And though this is an ugly prediction of how people can be, it doesn’t feel that far off from what could really be.

Laurence Fishburne in Contagion

We have many characters to follow throughout the movie, each one compelling.

If you’re a Paltrow fan, don’t look for her to be in too much of the movie and, well, if it drives you crazy as to how this all began, the movie ends by showing us Day 1.

It’s a good, entertaining bit of time, spent watching this movie. I’d recommend it, in any venue you decide to catch it in.

Jude Law in Contagion

Marion Cotillard in Contagion

A humorous side note…. if you’ve seen Rise of the Planet of the Apes, you know that the ending of Rise has a deadly plague spread throughout the world. That would be a great lead-in movie for Contagion if you were having a two-movie night with friends or family! They kind of compliment each other.

{ 1 comment… read it below or add one }

TanQboy March 19, 2012 at 7:36 pm

I agree completely with you! I thought this movie was a great depiction of a nasty pandemic. It always kept me watching (and avoiding touching my face). It never became sappy in a spieldbergian way nor did it become a Michael Bay piece of nonsense. Instead, it stayed smart, focused and unnerving.

I think it also marks the first time in history when an actor goes from being an actor to a corpse, then a video and finally a series of holiday snaps. Great review!

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