Side Effects (2013) Directed by Steven Soderbergh. With Rooney Mara, Jude Law, Catherine Zeta-Jones and Channing Tatum.
Working from a screenplay by Scott Z. Burns, Side Effects is an enjoyable psychological thriller set in New York, with a starry cast, directed by the prolific and always reliable, Steven Soderbergh. I use the word, reliable, as a compliment. Soderbergh’s C.V to date has covered a broad range of topics, yet somehow, his films retain the core strength of character and story above other superfluous distractions that can often get the better of mainstream directors.
Of course, with such a solid reputation in Tinseltown, it’s possible to attract the biggest names. Once again, Soderbergh pads his film with recognisable faces, most centrally, the excellent Rooney Mara and a convincing Jude Law. The story centres on a young woman (Mara) with depression, whose life takes a change when she meets Dr Banks (Law) who prescribes a drug that sets in motion this twisty and engaging thriller.
As mentioned, Rooney Mara is a wonder, particularly in the first half of the film as we’re invited to get to know her character. Like any great actor, Mara knows how important it is to play the silences in a scene, and her natural, almost laconic style makes her a hypnotic yet slightly dangerous screen presence. Jude Law too, is excellent as the film’s dual protagonist, struggling to meets his desperate patient’s needs.
I can’t say there’s anything ground-breaking going on here, but Soderbergh is a sure hand with this kind of material and the end result is a layered film with good characters and a well worked script, with enough tricks up its sleeve to keep you invested. 3.5/5