Contagion (2011)

contagion poster 2011 movie
7.0 Overall Score
Story: 7/10
Acting: 9/10
Visuals: 7/10

Great cast and good looking movie

The docu-drama style of the story kind of makes it a bit slow with little excitement or emotion

Movie Info

Movie Name:  Contagion

Studio:  Participant Media

Genre(s):  Drama

Release Date(s):  September 9, 2011

MPAA Rating:  PG-13


Bad news honey…I’m dying…I’m also cheating and brought home a super virus…how was your day?

A trip to Asia unleashes something on the world.  Beth Emhoff (Gwenyth Paltrow) returns from a business trip sick from an unknown virus.  The virus quickly kills her and starts to spread to those she came in contact.  As Dr. Ellis Cheever (Lawrence Fishburne), Dr. Ally Hextall (Jennifer Ehle), Dr. Ian Sussman (Elliott Gould), Rear Admiral Lyle Haggerty (Bryan Cranston), and Dr. Erin Mear (Kate Winslet) work with officials try to find a cure for the plague that effects almost everyone it touches, reporters like Alan Krumwiede (Jude Law) cry that it is a government cover-up of a genetically engineered strain.  Dr. Leonora Orantes (Marion Cotillard) travels to Asia to find the source of the virus, and a cure must be found quickly before it is too late.


The reporter in the plastic bubble

Directed by Steven Soderbergh, Contagion tells the story of a mass outbreak.  The story was aided by real scientists and credited for being quite accurate on how an outbreak would be handled.  Critics liked the film and the movie did decent numbers at the box office.

I didn’t really have much interest in seeing Contagion.  I’m so-so on Soderbergh who sometimes makes great films and other times makes real stinkers.  Contagion isn’t a stinker, but it also isn’t a very enjoyable movie to watch.


Ok…I’m going to spin you around then just try to pin the tail on the donkey

It might be the constant fear of an outbreak like the bird flu which was dominating the news at the time Contagion was released, but I found this movie rather boring.  It is very accurate and feels like what would happen in an outbreak, but it also seems to lack real emotion for the most part.  Matt Damon’s character Mitch Emhoff  and his daughter seemed to be the only character that real got to express much of a reaction to the event.  The multiple storylines are fun, but I don’t feel many characters truly get their due…plus, the movie ends rather abruptly and a bit too easily.  (*****Spoiler Alert***** I also think that one of the first things that the people would look at really heavily is the food source and something like the pig connection would be evident).


Worst job…ever

The cast is an all-star cast, but as I mentioned, I feel few of them really got to get the full attention they deserved.  I thought the characters were all interesting and I thought the acting was top notch…I just felt the whole movie was very detached emotionally and almost felt like a real life documentary instead of a movie (besides the Damon storyline).  The big cast did remind me a lot of the “real-life” A.I.D.S. outbreak film And the Band Played On from 1993.  That film also starred a large cast battling a rapidly spreading disease…it pulled it off better however due to a more compelling story.


Images like these work in the film

Soderbergh does make a good looking film.  The imagery is stark and at points shockingly blasé about the deaths and the chaos that comes with it.  Big events happen in the film and instead of hyping them up, Soderbergh almost seems to downplay everything.  It is this downplaying that makes the film a bit unique, but also adds to the documentary nature of the film…something that in the end curses it a bit.

Contagion is a strange film in it maintains and even-keel throughout the movie.  I just wanted something a bit more.  If it had turned into a big adventure movie however, it wouldn’t have been fair to the subject.  The movie does it right with what it is trying to do, but it just doesn’t necessarily make for an interesting film…though it still can terrify in its subject matter.

Author: JPRoscoe View all posts by
Follow me on Twitter/Instagram/Letterboxd @JPRoscoe76! Loves all things pop-culture especially if it has a bit of a counter-culture twist. Plays video games (basically from the start when a neighbor brought home an Atari 2600), comic loving (for almost 30 years), and a true critic of movies. Enjoys the art house but also isn't afraid to let in one or two popular movies at the same time.

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