First Steven Soderbergh terrifies us of falling ill with “Contagion” and now he makes us wary of the medication that should make us better with “Side Effects.”
Emily Taylor (Rooney Mara) had it good. She met a kind, handsome guy (Channing Tatum) with a flourishing career; they fell in love, got married and set out to begin a luxurious life filled with wealth and romance. Unfortunately, in an instant, her fairy tale was decimated when her husband was taken away from a lavish Connecticut estate in handcuffs, convicted of insider trading and thrown in prison. A dedicated wife, Emily holds strong, visiting Martin on a regular basis and welcoming him home with open arms after his release.
However, even though she’s thrilled to have him back, the experience is so jarring it stirs up a former issue with depression. Eager to get out of her current funk, Emily starts seeing Dr. Jonathan Banks (Jude Law) who gives her a prescription for a drug called Ablixa. While the pills do brighten her mood, they also cause Emily to get up in the middle of the night, walk around and even cook meals – all in her sleep. Brushed off as a mere side effect, Emily continues the regimen, but when her mid-slumber behavior turns violent, nobody knows who to blame – Dr. Banks, Ablixa or Emily herself.
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Contagion begins with Beth Emhoff (Gwyneth Paltrow), a woman on her way back from a business trip in Hong Kong. She isn’t feeling too well and opts to point a finger at the usual culprit, jet lag. However, just days later her symptoms intensify, she has a seizure and passes away. This is no common cold or even a freak contraction of the bird flu or contact with anthrax; it’s a new type of virus, one with the capacity to wipe out millions.
Apparently the subject matter of the film didn’t disturb the cast too much because a nice chunk of the gang shook some hands on the red carpet just the other night for Contagion‘s New York City premiere. Of the bunch Shockya had the pleasure of speaking with the promising young actress Anna Jacoby-Heron who plays Matt Damon’s daughter in the film as well as her on screen boyfriend, Brian J. O’Donnell.
Chin Han whose character assists Marion Cotillard’s in her effort to pinpoint the start of the pandemic stopped by to chat as did Elliott Gould who steps in as Ian Sussman, a doctor who joins the effort to find a cure. We also got some time with Dr. Ally Hextall of the CDC, played by Jennifer Ehle, as well as the film’s writer, Scott Z. Burns.
Check out what they had to say about their experience working on the film that’s not only guaranteed to give you the creeps, but compel you to wash your hands obsessively below.
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Contagion is the scariest movie of the year, and that’s coming from someone with a pension for horror films. Unlike most worldwide disaster movies, Contagion doesn’t sensationalize the issue on a grand scale in an effort to shock the audience, rather it tells the tale via a variety of intimate scenarios, both giving the audience that vast scope, but also putting you right in the middle of the disaster alongside the characters that are fighting through it.
After a business trip to Hong Kong, Beth Emhoff (Gwyneth Paltrow) isn’t feeling great. She assumes her sore throat and headache stem from jetlag and both she and her husband, Mitch (Matt Damon), dismiss her condition until Beth collapses on the kitchen floor. Almost instantaneously, she’s rushed to the hospital and pronounced dead, leaving Mitch a single parent.
An autopsy reveals Beth’s passing wasn’t due to a freak illness, the bird flu, anthrax or anything else this type of situation is usually attributed to, rather a new kind of virus with overwhelmingly powerful effects. In comes Dr. Ellis Cheever (Laurence Fishburne) of the CDC to assess the situation and take action. He sends field agent Dr. Erin Mears (Kate Winslet) to Minnesota to pinpoint Beth’s whereabouts since she’s contracted the disease to keep it from spreading. Regardless of her efforts, people all around town fall ill, reports pour in of clusters around the country and the world, and a global pandemic ensues.
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