Every so often these apocalyptic films pop up, sometimes being good (The Road, War of the Worlds and Children of Men) and some less so (The Happening and Skyline). Few of these are films following the progression of viruses (unless you go the way of the Virus-aftermath such as in I am Legend). Perhaps this film can show us why there aren’t many. Contagion was directed by Steven Soderbergh (Ocean’s Eleven) and stars people such as Matt Damon (Saving Private Ryan), Judge Law (Sherlock Holmes) and Kate Winslet (Titanic). While this movie sounds promising, something must have slipped it up.
The first main issue is that it’s so boring. It tries to show a true depiction of responses of the U.S Centres for Disease Management. By staying true to government reactions it takes the entire scare out of the prospect. It takes you through all of the painstaking details of finding where the disease comes from, stopping the spread, finding a cure and dealing with the dead almost like it’s a government ‘how to’ video. I feel like I should get paid for watching this film; like it expects me to sit with pen and paper taking notes. Not only does it go all official on you, it also spits out medical jargon and chemistry at you. Maybe you can make a film for intellects, but I’m sure even they like to have fun in their movies too.
If the slow paced action wasn’t enough, some of the scenes and camera angles were a bit off, too. You’d be watching one plot thread and it’d flick to a flashback with no real warning. This was perhaps meant to be clever (making the audience work it all out and all that) but it wasn’t clever, just annoying. These flashbacks were linking to one character thread of the several we had to try and follow. The personal character stories weren’t even that good because you never found out much about any one character. The two most likeable characters were, perhaps: Mitch Emhoff (Matt Damon) and Dr. Ellis Cheever (Laurence Fishburne). However, neither of these stories were interesting… I guess Mitch’s was a little touching as an ending note.
Overall, it wasn’t a great movie. Where was the action? Where was the screaming? The plot threads were there, but they were badly written in. Everything tied together to create a bland soup of realism. Bring on the fantasy. A good star cast, but very disappointing.