Tuesday, October 11, 2011


Contagion – 106min – PG13

If you are contemplating a germaphobic lifestyle, I would say you need to see this film. It is a recruitment film for the sterile agenda. It is all about the genesis of a disease and how it can wipe out millions of people because of the way we live and how we interact with one another. The movie is well done but an ensemble cast is sometimes hard to watch. I find myself interested in only some of the characters. This story places several characters as interpreters of the main star, the virus. As a concept this movie was great, it was executed well but overall for entertainment value this movie rates only a sickly yellow light.

The cast list is as long as my arm and most of them did really well. But the main star of this movie was MEV-1 virus. This story surrounds how it gets kicked off with one person and then spreads through the population. The evolution of this disease gets told through the eyes of the following characters: the Emhoff family Mitch (Matt Damon) and Beth (Gwyneth Paltrow), their two kids Jory (Anna Jacoby-Heron) and Andrew (Joshua Seiden);Dr. Ellis Cheever (Laurence Fishburne), Dr. Erin Mears (Kate Winslet) and Dr. Ally Hextall (Jennifer Ehle) of the CDC, working towards a cure; Dr. Leonora Orantes (Marion Cotillard) of the WHO who is searching for the origins of the virus; and conspiracy theorist blogger Alan Krumwiede (Jude Law) who sees himself as a messiah. With all of this talent is a shame that the movie was so focused on everyone it did not give us time to really connect with anyone. The main failing of this film is it’s a collection of short films all about the same topic but they don’t really hold together well in one story. Just when I was feeling something for one of the characters I was whisked off to another part of the world and I had to recalibrate and try to reconnect with those characters and their version of the problem.

The overall story suffers from its overzealous attempt to get a global view in such a short time. This story really could have been a miniseries and we could have spent more time getting to know the characters. The writer, Scott Z. Burns, needs to be commended on tackling this large project and making it into a story. It’s an interesting concept and it’s adequately done, but it does not have enough time to really drive a connection. Director Steven Soderbergh made a great film that is beautiful and thought-provoking. I really enjoyed the way it was filmed -- the long pauses on the items that passed the contagion and the surrounding problems once people stop doing things like collecting garbage. Putting the population tallies under the city names in scene changes was a truly great idea to put things in perspective. In the end I need to ask if this was the right vehicle for this story. I could see this being on HBO or on TNT as a miniseries but not an episodic show.


I got a very Hitchcockian feel from the fact that Gwyneth Paltrow was featured so prominently in the previews and the DIES within the first 10 min of the movie. Hitchcock did the same thing in Psycho with Janet Leigh.

This movie pulls no punches in its setting the bar in how fatal this virus is by also killing Beth’s son because she passed the virus off to him in a loving welcome home hug. OK, I am watching a movie where there are no boundaries on who is at risk, got it.

Jude Law is a marvelous performer I truly hated his character in this movie. He embodied all that is bad with humanity and I feel guilty for thinking this but if his followers were dumb enough to follow his advice I am kind of glad that they are not going to be in the gene pool. Humanity is better off. *Smug Mode Disengage.*

I thought the very ending should have been left off. We don’t get anything more from the story to learn that a bat was eating something over a pig pen and a pig ate its leftovers and we picked that up from a chef who did not wash his hands. Leaving it as an open topic of discussion would have been better, all I learned from this film’s ending is never shake hands with a cook. They are icky.

What other movies would have been better as a miniseries than a film. Tell me about it?

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