Contagion is an American film that came out in 2011. It was directed by Steven Soderbergh and written by Scott Z. Burns and came with a star studded cast including Matt Damon, Kate Winslet, Jude Law, Gwyneth Paltrow and more. This film is about outbreaks, fear, people’s lives, journalism and people just not washing their hands.
What is this film about?
The film starts on day two of the outbreak as we see Beth Emhoff, a business woman on a layover at Chicago airport as she has just came from Hong Kong and going to Minnesota. She seems to have flu like symptoms as she talks to her Chicago lover on her Phone as she waits for her flight. Next we get a slightly patronising montage scene with good long close ups of ill people all across the world touching things just so we know as an audience member that ill people still touch things and this is how a disease maybe spread.
After this we go to Minnesota and we see the disease spread as Beth’s son (Clark) gets pull out of school for being a bit ill like his mum. Then the family takes a turn for the worst as Beth start to have seizure and when she gets to the hospital she unfortunately dies, even though you would not be able to tell this by her husband’s (Mitch) reaction. It seems more like he just got told his car had been clamped not that his wife died. After this Mitch’s step son (Clark) dies and yet again Mitch’s reaction seems off, as he is a bit angry, but more like he just dropped his laptop, not that his step son just died. From here the infection spreads.
My views on it
Well at the start, besides some bad acting and being a bit patronising it had a lot of promise. The almost documentary style of filming was interesting and engaging at first as we follow people lives and how the disease spread. Also with the main protagonist (Beth) at the start of the film dying as well as her son it showed that this film was willing to be edgy and taboo. Sadly after this the film stops being good.
Due to the style of which the film was made (editing, cinamtography, ect), it started to grate on me after a while, it seemed like it did not know what it wanted to be. Part of it wanted to be a normal film and the other half wanted to be a documentary and this gets really annoying as the film drags on. As they tried to integrate these styles it did not seem to work. An example of this is when they are looking through some CCTV footage at a casino, they portray that they can see only what the cameras see, but the footage we see is a stylized version; as we see it like we are there in the casino and not the cameras on the celling. They should have just shown us the CCTV footage as it would have been and not make a stylized version of it for us; as that breaks the reality that the documentary style try’s to create.
After the beginning, the level of interest that this film sets up starts to decreases very quickly. This is because nothing interesting really happens and nothing is made to be dramatic. The pace of the film becomes very slow and as nothing is made to look really dramatic and it becomes monotone, just riding along on the same level of just ‘kind of interesting’. And that is what the film just become, just kind of interesting. Because it sticks to this one level for the rest of the film its gets really dull and it drags out. The film is only 1 hour and 46 minutes but it felt about 2 hours and a half. Even my friend John said after the film ‘that film was long, over 2 hours’.
As I am getting over my limit in the review I am just going to list a few over issues that I did not like, quickly for you.
*The film jumped from character to character all the time so you could not make a connection with them really.
*Acting was bad
*The disease itself was dull
*The Ending was insulting and not needed
Alan Krumwiede: It's a bad day to be a rhesus monkey.
Rating 1.5/5 stars