Contagion focuses on the development of an aggressive virus, capable of killing in days, and the attempts of the Centers for Disease Control to stop both it and fear from spreading.
The film begins with Mitch Emhoff (Matt Damon) being the first to experience the devastating affects of the virus as his wife Beth (Gwyneth Paltrow) and stepson are killed in rapid succession.
Known for his infatuation with dialogue, Soderbergh uses an ensemble cast to indulge the audience’s need to know what the virus is while still progressing the story.
The explanation of the virus falls on deaf ears to anyone unfamiliar with the intricacies of DNA and cells–in short, you’ll die.
The film advances through the development of a sense of the trials and tribulations those charged with discovering how the virus works and where it came from must deal with, along with its trickle down affect on the rest of society.
Although Contagion features a fantastic collection of talented actors and actresses, the film delivers them to us in a very cold way. There is not one character that audience members can warm up to.
The plot becomes a tangled web of conspiracy theories, panic and control that develops at a pace set to match the spread of the virus. Despite it’s attempts to turn us all into hypochondriacs, the film fails to deliver the suspense and thrills that are intended.
The fear of a virus the likes of which have “never been seen before” are all to convenient to strike us with fear the film needs due to its lack of character development.
Otherwise the film is a thinking movie-goer’s chance to see a modern day outbreak. I’d let this one go to DVD though. It’s a different, but average film.