Steven Soderbergh has always brought a unique visual style to his films from “Oceans Eleven” to “Erin Brockovich” to “Traffic” not to mention “The Informant.” In fact, I didn’t realize quite how much I admired his work until I looked through his IMDB page. But I digress. Anyway, my lovely friend, A and I were both very excited to see this film mainly because of the commercials and the exceptional cast.
Let me say this. This was not by any stretch a bad movie or even a mediocre film. The pacing for the first hour was phenomenal, the visual style was engaging and the wealth of talent in that cast was considerable. Literally, every scene presents a new incredible actor from Marion Cotilliard, (“La Vie En Rose”) Matt Damon, (sexy in the Bourne series) and Laurence Fishburn, (Othello) to Sanaa Lathan (AVP) and Jude Law (Sherlock Holmes) plus Bryan Cranston (Breaking Bad). Exactly how much of the budget was spent on cast salaries???
Anyway, despite the fact that the last 20 minutes dragged a bit, that wasn’t the actual issue. It was actually how underused the cast was. The biggest asset (the cast) to this film was giving it the most problems. These are engaging actors but the script gave very little room for actual character development and forming emotional bonds with these characters was tricky simply because there wasn’t enough time. There were so many characters to pay attention to while simultaneously paying attention to the conflicts and progression of the story. There was a lot to digest and sadly the phenomenal cast didn’t always get the time they deserved.
All in all, I dub this film worthy of not only the ticket money I bled for, but I will definitely buy this on DVD for the film and the special features. Whereas it didn’t resort to the same kind of overblown theatrics that its pathogen predecessor, “Outbreak” did, “Contagion” was still a good film and well worth seeing especially if you’re interested in the political and scientific steps taken when a disease threatens the population and the dangers of fear and mass panic that can and does effect the healthy. Okay, sounds boring when you say it like that, but either way, you should see it.