Saturday, 7 July 2018

CONTAGION

This 2011 Steven Soderbergh film delves into the topic of human and corporate behaviour when faced with an earth-shattering event, like many disaster films before it! This time it's an outbreak of a disease which is rapidly spreading across the globe and depicts the efforts of the people involved at various different levels to bring it to a halt.

It's less of a thriller than the 1995 film Outbreak, but rather provides a different emphasis, this being a clear understanding of how the disease spreads - by examining casual contact between people moving around the globe and how they readily infect each other at a micro level.

The film is littered with big names, including Gwyneth Paltrow, Matt Damon, Laurence Fishburne, Jude Law, Kate Winslet, Elliott Gould and Bryan Cranston amongst many, many others. Each plays a different sized role, some a real bit-part and others, sizeable chunks. Of particular note for their performances are Gwyneth Paltrow, who doesn't last long but is used in flashback, Matt Damon, who's in-and-out throughout, Jude Law who plays a blogger-journalist and Kate Winslet, the expert who tries to save the day. These main roles are played convincingly, as you'd expect from such people.

Now, I don't know about the facts - I'm no micro-biologist - and there's enough X-Ray Data in the Amazon Prime Video version of this to cast doubt on much of the proceedings, but the fact is that it's turned into a nice thriller which makes you think about globalisation, travel, the effect on village life and ordinary people's reaction to such an event.

It does seem to peter out towards the end, to be honest, and slows down as if actually there was a much longer version of it made and this was missing chunks, but I don't know that. One minute a certain set of parameters are in place and within 5 minutes or so of that, it's radically changed as we reach the somewhat dissatisfying climax.

But laying that aside, it's very well acted and keeps the attention, like a disaster film should, and is certainly well worth a watch, if only to see Jude Law and Kate Winslet in action. Recommended with reservations.

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