Contagion (2011) Directed by Steven Soderbergh. With Matt Damon, Kate Winslet, Laurence Fishburne, Gwyneth Paltrow and Jude Law.
One of the challenges of making any film with events unfolding via multiple characters spread across the entire globe – is engaging on an emotional level with so little screen-time available for character development. Contagion is essentially the life story of a deadly virus as it passes from one host to another, with frightening consequences. For anyone slightly reluctant to grab that door handle in a public toilet with a bare hand – watching this might tip you over the edge. If you see nothing wrong with wearing dust-mask on public transport to avoid infection, or the sort of person who spends more time washing their hands than breathing oxygen – then avoid it altogether, for this will chill you far more than The Exorcist ever could.
In true Oceans 11 style, director Steven Soderbergh has once more assembled an A-list cast – but instead of jetting them all off to Vegas for a pal-around, he’s more focused on deciding which one of them he’s going to infect with a mutated killer disease – come to think of it, that might have improved the Oceans sequels no-end.
For this kind of film, the stars are actually a minor distraction that need not have been there. Casting unknowns would have made the virus the star of the film instead of some of the less interesting sub-plots in which the film veers off on. Overall though, due to the prevalence of this kind of story in our news agenda over the past ten years, it’s never less than interesting and highlights just how slow the world might be to respond to something as catastrophic as this and just how destructive this kind of mutated virus could prove to be. Worth seeing, but get ready to flinch the next time you hear someone cough. 3/5