Director: Steven Soderbergh
Time: 1 hour 46 minutes
Starring: Matt Damon, Marion Cotillard, Gwyneth Paltrow, Jude Law, Laurence Fishbourne, Kate Winslet
Acclaimed director Steven Soderbergh redefines the disaster genre with "Contagion", a smart, intuitive look at a very likely future disaster. The film follows the path of a lethal virus that could be spread through the air or through physical contact with contaminated objects. As the pandemic begins to threaten the livelihood of the human race, various world powers and organizations race to find a vaccine. Will they ultimately find a cure, or will society itself crumble due to human nature?
If I could make a very generic comparison, I would say that "Contagion" reminds me a lot of the film "Crash" by Paul Haggis. We see the perspective of various members whose lives are affected by this pandemic and we learn how all of their lives ultimately interact with each other. One of the strengths of Steven Soderbergh as a director is that he is really meticulous about the shots he picks for the film. Soderbergh smartly focuses on shots of hands touching metal bars in a subway, people handling raw food and then shaking hands with others without properly cleaning, as well as other things. The focus on these scenes helps drives the significance of how easily a deadly disease can spread through just common interaction.
As interesting as the cinematography is, the strongest feature of the film is the development of the feature cast as the film trudges on. The film looks at many of the social and financial implications of what a pandemic like this might inflict on our world. Needless to say, this is greatly moving and a thought-raising tale that we should be cautious of how we handle unknown virus strains and future epidemics.
Additionally, the cast is brilliant. Damon, Cotillard, Winslet, Law and Fishbourne all provide stellar performances. No one outshines the rest of the cast, but they all sparkle brilliantly.
"Contagion" is a smart film that I feel the need to spread to others. Let's hope that positive reviews of the film spread nearly as fast as the pandemic in the film does.
4.5 out of 5 stars.