Friday, September 09, 2011

The Plague’s the Thing: “Contagion” is a First Class Outbreak Disaster Flick

One this is for certain: if “Contagion” is a box office success everyone should probably invest in hand sanitizer stock. That stuff is gonna start selling like hotcakes. Just a couple years ago, the “swine flu,” or rather the more PC term “h1n1 flu,” became a hot media sensation when various people all over the country began contracting a new deadly virus. Of course things didn’t turn out like they did in the terrific 1995 thriller “Outbreak” but it was enough of a concern that Purell dispensers were installed all over my work building. Disaster flicks have always been popular in Hollywood and while they’re mostly just fantasy, sometimes some movies come along that are so realistic and well-made they almost seem too real.

“Contagion” is almost so real it’s scary. It’s not exactly the most pleasant movie to sit through but it sure is captivating. As directed by Oscar-winner Steven Soderbergh the film is a well-cast ensemble piece. We get everyday characters like you and me and government officials and various doctors and scientists. The film begins when a woman returning home from a trip to China gets sick. Beth Emhoff (Gwyneth Paltrow) returns home to her family in the States, the next day she begins having a seizure. Her husband Mitch brings her to the hospital, where she unexpectedly dies. Not only is Mitch dumbfounded, but so are the doctors. We see other cases of this disease in other parts of the world where slowly the bug is passed along to a few and then to thousands upon thousands of people. It appears to be airborne.

The movie is shot as if it were “Traffic” meets “Outbreak.” We see the point of view of workers at the Centers for Disease Control in Atlanta, Georgia. Laurence Fishburne is Dr. Ellis Cheever who knows that this is one serious bug and that it’s spreading faster than they can cure it. He enlists the help of Dr. Erin Mears (Kate Winslet) who is an expert in dealing with epidemics. It is through her that we learn some disturbing true facts. Things like we, as humans, touch our face thousands of times and in between we’re touching so many various objects from doorknobs to faucets to other people. Germs are everywhere and once in a while people come in contact with really, really bad ones.

There is a somewhat sterile sheen to the whole proceeding which sort of left me sort of emotionally detached from a majority of what was going on, but I think that works for the film. Sure there were characters I cared about (most notably Winslet’s) but I think we ultimately spend too little time with everyone to become too invested. But we are invested mostly because they’re humans and we’re humans and Scott Burn’s script is so realistic that the film feels more of a documentary with high production value recreations than a traditional narrative. Meanwhile we get some political muckraking in the form of Jude Law’s blogger/journalist Alan Krumwiede who believes the CDC are liars and insist there’s a larger conspiracy going on.

Soderbergh’s trademark style (including those colorful filters) has always been realism, which he founded in the groundbreaking “Sex Lies and Videotape;” it’s a style that has followed him in his career for over two decades. And he’s one of the most diverse directors working today. He can go from churning out Hollywood hits (like Erin Brockovich or Ocean’s Eleven) to tiny indies you probably haven’t even heard of (Bubble or The Limey). Here he fuses them together to gives us an unsettling and realistic look at what would happen if something like this did really happen. It’s scary without being sensationalistic and it features some terrific performances. He even has the balls to kill off Gwyneth Paltrow before you even get a chance to finish your bag of popcorn.

“Contagion” will make you think twice about what you touch and put near your mouth. It’s obviously common courtesy to cover your mouth when you cough or sneeze, but it’s scary to think how many people never do. It’s not exactly a film that is going to scare the living daylights out of people to the point of wanting to become invalids, but it’ll make you wish you hadn’t booked that dream vacation to Hong Kong. GRADE: B+


Anonymous said...

ION i - Cade: Indulge your nostalgia for arcade gaming
with the ION i - Cade which converts your i - Pad into a retro arcade cabinet with all the bells and whistles like buttons,
joysticks and controls. The other excellent and legit way to watch free streaming movies and television shows on your i - Phone, i - Pad or i - Pod Touch is to
download the free app 'Crackle'. Maybe the name is beyond your expectation,not i - Pad 3 or i - Pad 2S
or i - Pad HD, but the specs are almost the same as those are rumored before.

Here is my web page; free movies on ipad

oakleyses said...

gucci outlet, true religion, kate spade handbags, prada outlet, kate spade outlet, air max, chanel handbags, oakley vault, true religion outlet, longchamp handbags, ray ban sunglasses outlet, oakley sunglasses, coach purses, louboutin, true religion jeans, tiffany and co, prada handbags, toms shoes, nike air max, ray ban sunglasses, nike free, louis vuitton outlet online, louis vuitton handbags, tory burch outlet, michael kors handbags clearance, longchamp handbags, michael kors outlet, air max, coach outlet, polo ralph lauren outlet, jordan shoes, coach factory outlet, cheap michael kors, polo ralph lauren outlet online, air jordan, nike air max, longchamp outlet, cheap oakley sunglasses, michael kors outlet online, coach outlet store online, nike shoes, michael kors outlet online, louboutin outlet, burberry outlet online, nike free

oakleyses said...

mac cosmetics, sac guess, barbour, roshe run, montre pas cher, converse pas cher, north face, vanessa bruno, new balance pas cher, air force, nfl jerseys, north face jackets, abercrombie and fitch, nike huarache, birkin bag, michael kors, oakley pas cher, new balance shoes, lancel, louis vuitton, louboutin, hollister, louis vuitton, converse shoes, lululemon, supra shoes, michael kors, reebok outlet, lululemon outlet, timberland, air max, karen millen, nike roshe, ralph lauren, michael kors, nike air max, north face outlet, nike free, nike blazer, ray ban pas cher, hogan, nike trainers, ray ban, hermes, burberry, lacoste, hollister, abercrombie and fitch, vans, mulberry

oakleyses said...

oakley, ugg, ugg, ugg boots, juicy couture outlet, instyler ionic styler, ugg boots, marc jacobs, canada goose outlet, wedding dresses, soccer jerseys, canada goose outlet, rolex watches, gucci, canada goose, soccer shoes, moncler, louboutin, tn pas cher, p90x3, insanity, herve leger, beats by dre, canada goose, canada goose, moncler, mont blanc, jimmy choo, celine handbags, air max, moncler outlet, ugg outlet, asics gel, juicy couture outlet, hollister, babyliss pro, canada goose, giuseppe zanotti, vans, ferragamo shoes, moncler, chi flat iron, ralph lauren, bottega veneta, moncler, uggs on sale, ray ban, mcm handbags, valentino shoes, ghd

Unknown said...

kate spade outlet
discount oakley sunglasses
true religion outlet
tory burch handbags
toms shoes
fitflop shoes
thomas sabo uk
burberry outlet online
marc jacobs handbags
louis vuitton outlet online
cheap nba jerseys
ray ban
prada handbags
kobe 9 shoes
adidas outlet
thomas sabo
tiffany and co
prada shoes
tods outlet
asics shoes
ray ban sunglasses online
tod's sale
michael kors canada
tiffany and co jewelry
coach outlet store
michael kors handbags
coach outlet
ray ban outlet
karen millen uk
instyler ionic styler
coach outlet online
beats headphones
polo ralph lauren outlet
kate spade handbags
hollister clothing store
ralph lauren polo shirts
valentino sale
hollister pas cher

Unknown said...

north face outlet
the north face clearance
the north face jackets
the north face outlet store
north face jackets
the north face uk
tommy hilfiger outlet
tory burch outlet
true religion jeans
vans shoes
ysl outlet
cheap nike shoes
nike running shoes
nike free 5.0
nike free
air max 2014
air max 2015
air max 90
gucci shoes
prada shoes
chicago blackhawks jersey
chicago bears jerseys
green bay packers jerseys
new orleans saints jerseys
oakland raiders jerseys
philadelphia eagles jerseys
san francisco 49ers jerseys
atlanta falcons jersey
dallas cowboys jersey
indianapolis colts jerseys
kansas city chiefs jerseys
miami dolphins jerseys
minnesota vikings jerseys
new england patriots jerseys
new york giants jerseys
new york jets jerseys

Unknown said...

ray ban sunglasses,
north face outlet,
beats by dr dre,
ugg boots,
michael kors outlet,
swarovski jewelry,
louis vuitton handbags,
cheap nike shoes,
hermes bags,
hollister uk,
nike roshe,
nike trainers,
cheap mlb jerseys,
toms outlet,
michael kors handbags,
north face jackets,
ralph lauren shirts,
tiffany outlet,
nike mercurial,
michael kors outlet,

Anonymous said...

michael kors uk outlet
beats by dre
kobe bryants shoes
toms outlet
calvin klein outlet
lebron james shoes
louis vuitton outlet store
mlb jerseys
louis vuitton outlet store
nike mercurial
nike air max 90
prada sneakers
mlb jerseys
louis vuitton handbags
michael kors outlet
mulberry outlet
hermes belt
cheap nba jerseys
adidas trainers
soccer jerseys
burberry outlet online
mcm backpack
louis vuitton handbags
louis vuitton handbags outlet
prada outlet online
michael kors handbags wholesale
michael kors outlet online
pandora jewelry
ralph lauren,polo ralph lauren,ralph lauren outlet,ralph lauren italia,ralph lauren sito ufficiale
timberland boots
adidas outlet
lebron shoes
louis vuitton handbags outlet
oakley sunglasses
longchamp handbags

adidas nmd said...

coach outlet online
jordan 4
kobe 9 elite
chicago bulls jersey
oakland raiders jerseys
cheap michael kors handbags
saints jerseys
true religion outlet
oakley sunglasses
tennessee titans jersey