Directed by Steven Soderbergh
If you thought the swine flu pandemic was frightening, you are in for a stimulating ride with Contagion, the new bio-thriller starring Matt Damon and Lawrence Fishburne. Directed by Steven Soderbergh (Ocean’s trilogy, Erin Brockovich) and written by Scott Z. Burns (The Informant!), Contagion capitalizes on America’s fear of biological warfare to create a classic thriller.
When a new, unidentifiable virus breaks out in Hong Kong, London, and Chicago, fear is struck in the hearts of the world. Best-case scenarios still predict millions will die. It is transferred through the human touch and neither the Center for Disease Control nor the World Health Organization knows what to do about it. This is the contagion. When Mitch’s (Damon) wife Beth (Gwyneth Paltrow) suddenly dies, he and his daughter have one mission: stay alive. When prominent government employees catch the virus, internal panic erupts. Soon, riots and looting flood the streets and it is up to a few minor players in the field of immunology to stop the madness.
With an incredible ensemble of Damon, Fishburne, Paltrow, Jude Law, Kate Winslet, and Marion Cotillard, Contagion produces major names in minor roles. With abnormally weak performances by Winslet and Cotillard, the movie relies on Fishburne and Law to pick up the slack. Soderbergh also leads the brilliant cinematography team, capturing unique, realistic angles. Realism, in fact, plays one of the most vital roles in the effectiveness of the film. At times you may want to look away or slowly take your hand off the dirty movie theater armrest, but I assure you it’s only incredible camera work. While the idea has been done before, Contagion uses a fresh array of characters to switch up the classic bio-thriller and create a great movie in its own class.