Saturday, October 01, 2011

"Contagion" (2011) - Movie Review

“Contagion” might be one of the few in the disaster pre-apocalyptic and post-apocalyptic film that deals it with a clinical approach and engrosses with fast moving events through characters than seeing it as a world wide event. It does not panic as the disaster films do over through media, national monuments and wonders of the world rather allows itself in key departments of interest and concentrates the drama and thriller in those corners. Directed by Steven Soderbergh, “Contagion” has wide array of casts playing simple to major roles each carrying their weight to put together this heavy mass of a film that ticks for a time that never seem to end.

Said with a grim outlook as it is and hopelessness, the film is Sodebergh’s seamless mixture of stylish presentation with a clinical perspective. The first target of this lethal virus is Beth Emhoff (Gwyneth Paltrow) returning from her Hong Kong trip sick, coughing and ready to collapse. En route indulging in adultery too. Her husband Mitch Emhoff (Matt Damon) hurries up to the hospital with her dying instantaneously and then before he could even sense the shock, he gets back home to find his step son succumb to this virus. This is the beginning of a really bad day for the planet.

“Contagion” is interested in the reaction of the governing bodies around the world and the response to this pandemic. Who else other than the wise and controlled Laurence Fishburne could play Dr. Ellis Cheever as the head of Centers for Disease Control and Prevention? Here Fishburne brings the instant respect and trust from his stature beyond the undermining mustache. He panics inside his calmness and begins to work through his effective people. There is Kate Winslet as Dr. Erin Mears who begins to venture to the field for setting perimeters and planning a facility. These details are done with a simplicity and the immediacy these bodies will begin to assimilate their resources having the underlying scare of what are they up against.

Soon as we encounter several of the players in this whole arena of panic and anarchy looming over not because it is a zombie invasion rather the basic nature to survive. In the mix of this are some diligent scientist taking risk and working to solve this being into finding a vaccine. Everything fails and as the outbreak reaches out there are opportunist venturing with a subtle cruelty, desperate folks trying everything they can to save a few and there are idealist losing their balance and crawl for answers. Hell lies in the empty street and absolute silence. The virus takes the world out there with a speed of spreading exponentially.

Talking about the speed of its expansion, we are told about the things that are performed by humans in a day touching materials, things and what not and then touching their face innumerable times to cause this spread. Every touch is a weapon and the fear of it is more ammunition than a loaded gun. Soon people believe everything and nothing. There is Jude Law as Alan Krumwiede waiting for a moment like this to break his conspiracy ideas from journalism into something more. The idea of being right and influencing people is a power one cannot get enough of. Such is Alan who prophesied through tons of his conspiracies into this one and there is a cure he believes to have identified called forsythia and people began to hunt for this unverified drug other than Alan live telecasting his intake through his blog. There will be people to follow and minds to believe. He though asks the right questions to the Dr. Cheever and tears the facade into reality. The world is crumbling and the governing bodies have no clue on what they are doing.

Soderbergh is a master in presenting reality with a classiness. His darkest depressing setting have a powerful magnetism. Here there are so many characters spun in the daily life of this deadly disease and making progress from genuine sacrifices, fear, sadness and pain. Dr. Ally Hextall (Jennifer Ehle) is one such and while we have seen so many films that has a character using them as a lab rat for their discovery, Soderbergh makes it a mellow chanting of bad idea and makes it a serene experience in the process.

“Contagion” is not your ordinary bloody post apocalyptic movie. It is not interested in the chaos that are displayed through the media or people running around in famous spots as the world is reduced into snippets of world monuments and the crushing of it. It is interested in the people who would be directly dealing with it and then the people we will forget in the midst of our busy lives and those are none other than ourselves. He is a man of details and here he gives a clinical approach. That might detach the sensitivity and humanity element but it is every bit effective and keeps you glued. You might not be relieved or rewarded a cinematic finale but it has a sweet finish that is more cinematic and more real.

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