Thursday, September 8, 2011

Movie Review: Contagion

The film was produced by Warner Bros. and Participant Media. Overseas, the movie is opening this weekend in a few small foreign markets, including Italy.

Less a thriller than a fascinating study of a global health crisis, the film tracks a mysterious, aggressive virus that infects corporate exec Beth (Gwyneth Paltrow) during a Hong Kong business trip. (Paltrow haters, rejoice: She's among the first to succumb and doesn't belt a country song before croaking.)

The contagion quickly spreads across all borders, fueled by countless human interactions, and explodes into a full-blown pandemic. As the death toll escalates, researchers scramble to decode the mutating biological pathogen, develop a vaccine, and administer it to the freaked-out populace.

Thankfully, Contagion avoids the silliness and literal monkey business of that '90s Ebola movie Outbreak. Working with cool, muted tones and a driving techno score, Soderbergh credibly, soberly details the world government's response and public's widespread panic: the quarantines, the protests, the looting, the ghostly empty airports, etc. There's even an activist vlogger (a snaggletoothed Jude Law) who develops a huge, um, viral following by disseminating conspiracy theories.

Still, after exiting the theater, you'll vow to never touch anyone—or your own face—ever again.
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