The Movie Special

DVD Reviews 'n More

CONTAGION (2011)

106 minutes of pure terror if you afraid of germs – and even if you are not, you will be after watching this movie. Steven Soderbergh did not go for the over-kill disaster movie but instead he made a solemn and straight-talking movie, which makes this even more terrifying.

Contagion starts at Day Two of an outbreak of a lethal airborne virus that kills within days. Beth Emhoff (Gwyneth Paltrow) is on her way home from a business trip to Hong Kong. While passing thru Chicago the coming-down-with-something Beth meets with an old boyfriend before returning home to her husband Mitch (Matt Damon) and her children. Next day she is dead. Simultaneously there are similar deaths in Hong Kong and Chicago. And from there on the virus spreads like a wild-fire. Shot by shot we find out how Beth infected everything and everybody she touched – from the peanuts at the Chicago Airport to her own son.

Contagion concentrates on the scientists who are called in to determine when / where and how the pandemic started and how to stop it. Dr. Ellis Cheever (Laurence Fishburne), the head of the Centers For Disease Control And Prevention (CDC) in Atlanta, is in charge. Erin Mears (Kate Winslet) is a medical-intelligence specialist at the hot zone in Minneapolis trying to find some answers. Dr. Ally Hextall (Jennifer Ehle) is back at CDC working on developing a serum to fight the virus. Dr. Leonora Orantes (Marion Cotillard), an epidemiologist sent to Asia by WHO, is trying to track down the source of the virus. All these scientists are working hard and putting themselves in danger while the-life-as-we-know-it is coming to an end with wide-spread panic causing the society to melt down. Throw into the mix an obnoxious conspiracy-theorist blogger Alan Krumwiede (Jude Law), who says not to take the brand new vaccine.

Contagion is almost like a documentary of what goes on behind the scenes of a pandemic. The movie has shots lingering on elevator buttons, cell phones left on the counter and even a bowl of peanuts. All this adds to the sombre mood of the film. The heroes of the movie are the scientists, who are life-likely interpreted by the cast. Steven Soderbergh’s direction and Scott Z. Burns’ screenplay draws you in and you cannot but watch the movie to the last scene where you find out what happened on the Day One.

What makes this movie chilling to the bone is that according to the scientists it’s not the question of if – but when – this is going to happen. When a wrong pig meets up with a wrong bat…

I was glued to the screen from the first scenes to the end. Movie that makes you think  – also about not touching your face.

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