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Effective, thought provoking, and mis-marketed.
7/10 Not much to say that hasn't been already the critics are right, it is an effective slick movie that may be a bit slight as far as character development but doesn't suffer too badly for it. This is a movie far more about ideas than people and that is not necessarily a bad thing.5 years ago
Excellent direction from Soderbergh, masterful cinematography, and while there are a few logical mis-steps, the writing more than makes up for that by confounding expectations more than once in truly creative and credible ways.
Unfortunately trailers have many seeking an action thrill-ride, when what it delivers for the most part is a slow boiling suspenseful drama. When will Hollywood learn that setting expectations that don't match the product may sell a few extra tickets in the beginning, but hurts word of mouth and user reviews which are needed for the success of a film beyond the opening weekend.
Fictional viral outbreak plausibly dramatized in docu-like fashion
7/10 Stephen Soderbergh's latest direction, "Contagion" (2011), even though bringing less than expected excitement, is an absorbing movie to watch, efficient as a social and behavioural study, but no less as an accomplished collection of individual case studies, offering sufficiently thought-provoking arguments, such as the fact that--despite all the scientific advances and exhaustive efforts of the thousands of specialists--humankind still stands pretty helpless in the prevention of new viral outbreaks and their many strains occurring globally, when even seemingly well organised societies easily slip into chaos, leaving all individuals to fend for themselves in the ultimate fight for survival, all further fuelled by unstoppable leaks (however, lucrative sensationalism, as well) on an almost inevitable, mutually supportive (money and power shouldn't mix, but mostly they do) corporal and governmental cover-ups. Surely it is a disturbing reminder that even at the most difficult of times, humanity's good traits still get so easily overpowered by the seed of all evil--selfishness and greed.5 years ago
Many good actors partake in the movie: Kate Winslet, Matt Damon, Jude Law, Jennifer Ehle, Marion Cotillard, Laurence Fishburne, Elliott Gould, to name a few, though one cannot expect remarkable character development when action is dispersed and story spread on so many leads. Nevertheless, Soderbergh knows how to make people count and, albeit somewhat shy about it, he's sufficiently confident in decisive difference their increasingly frequent, self-sacrificing actions could make, having faith in ultimately predominant selflessness and benevolence, kindness and compassion, whether among pre-organised, or ad hoc gathered communities, down to the last individual, rediscovering--now under extreme conditions--their altruism and, as implied in a reserved hope raised towards the end, having--this way or another--humanism in humankind still prevail.
solid, efficient storytelling
8/10 I can see why some people might be a bit disappointed in this movie, because it's a pretty realistic on a pandemic, without a main heroic character or even action really. It's full dialogue-driven scenes, and most of the characters aren't really fleshed out.5 years ago
I was OK with that because it's able to show the different effects of a pandemic throughout the globe instead having one or two main characters. A small Chinese village near the source of the virus tries to survive. A misguided blogger ends up inciting violence . And a recently single father tries to protect his daughter. The way the story cuts between these different story lines kept me from getting bored, and nothing that happens feels unrealistic.
So while it's a movie I don't really need to see again, it's good to experience once. It's intense while it lasts, and is a nice reminder of what could've actually happened if swine flu was actually a big deal.
Good movie, but could have been better
7/10 I saw this movie at a pre-screening in St. Louis. I thought it was good, and I did enjoy it, but I also thought it could have been better. It's about a virus outbreak that is untreatable, and threatens the whole world's population. I thought it had a kind of 'CSI' vibe to me. I liked the way the story showed what day it was, place, etc, and kind of followed the outbreak across the globe. The acting by Matt Damon and Jude Law was great, but overall it just didn't have enough conflict. I felt like I had seen it before in similar movies, and there was no main protagonist/bad guy to fight against (well, besides the virus itself, of course!) The film made me think about germs, diseases, and government cover ups. Which are all too real even today. I did really like the last scene and how the movie came full circle. Overall though, I felt like it could have gone somewhere, but didn't. But still I enjoyed it and would recommend it, it's just not one of my favorites. 7/105 years ago
Very unique take on the viral outbreak subgenre
8/10 One would think that the last thing we need is another outbreak movie. But that's not the case when the latest of the genre is directed by the always interesting Steven Soderbergh. Contagion wins for this years most ridiculously impressive cast lineup, as it is an ensemble picture about a deadly viral outbreak that affects the entire world. We follow various characters like a man who loses his wife and step son to the disease. We follow various doctors who work to stop the virus, along with CDC officials who must control the spread and influence of the virus. The whole film is a tightly woven dramatic thriller that presents a lot of characters and a lot of ideas, but keeps them all in line and pulls its story off very well.5 years ago
It's not always easy to keep an ensemble cast straight, especially when the main plot of the film is run by subplots from the various characters and their stories that continue throughout the film. The stories weave in and out of each other at times, but often they are all separate, just lead by the same main plot of a viral outbreak affecting the entire population of the world. Thankfully, Contagion interweaves its characters and story lines at just the right intervals, forming a very structured and well crafted end result. There are essentially four main stories that intertwine. There's the father character's story, the CDC, the scientists trying to stop the disease, and a blogger who claims to already have a cure for the disease. These four stories get basically equal screen time and all serve a purpose towards thickening the film's plot. The way they work together and separate is impressive and makes for a very strong overall narrative.
Soderbergh takes a very minimalist approach to Contagion, steering clear of anything flashy or exaggerated and avoiding over-dramatic relationships and big budget set pieces. This makes Contagion a very unique experience and something much different from your typical viral outbreak flick. It does lag in spots as the film attempts to stretch out certain things without doing anything flashy. The film takes a very low key and eerily monotone approach to its storytelling. It seems to choose the simplest solution to things which in turn makes it a more fascinating and much more realistic feeling than something glitzy and spastic. I certainly feel that Contagion paints the best picture of what would actually happen should a serious outbreak like this occur. This, of course, makes it all the more frightening.
Contagion is certainly a film worth seeing. It takes a much different approach to a genre we thought we were so familiar with. Soderbergh's poignant direction and Scott Z. Burns' sharp script give this film a great atmosphere, and the incredible cast lineup makes it all the better. It is undeniably slow at points, but when you put in the context of a film of this quality it doesn't matter nearly as much. This is a great way to kick off the fall season for film.