Director: Steven Soderbergh
Writer: Scott Z. Burns
Cast: Gwyneth Paltrow, Matt Damon, Kate Winslet, Laurence Fishburne, John Hawkes, Jude Law, Marion Cotillard, Jennifer Ehle, Elliott Gould, Bryan Cranston, Josie Ho
Beth Emhoff (Gwyneth Paltrow) travels home from a business trip in Hong Kong. But almost as soon as she reaches her husband (Matt Damon) and son, the cold she brought from Hong Kong turns out to be much worse and is, in fact, the beginning of a worldwide epidemic. While people around them start dying the CDC sends an agent (Kate Winslet) to Boston, while the WHO sends one of their people (Marion Cotillard) to Hong Kong in a desperate attempt to find a cure – and quickly.
In Contagion, Soderbergh dodges most of the classic movie conventions on how to tell his story. Instead he makes a film that feels so utterly realistic that you can almost believe it to be a documentary. That is not only impressive per se, it also makes for an excellent film.
Scott Z. Burns really has written a wonderful script that just feels very realistic. I don’t know if he has a background in the area or if he has done extensive research or if it just feels so completely believable, but it’s a fact that I believed that things would go down exactly that way in real life.
And that is a pretty scary prospect actually. In fact, after the film you don’t really want to touch anything anymore. Or ever get in contact with another person again.
I don’t think that the movie could have worked as well as it did if it wasn’t for the stellar cast. It’s really incredible. You look at the poster and you already know that this is one of the best ensembles of recent times (except maybe for Gwyneth Paltrow, but even she is fine here) – and then people keep popping up who didn’t even make it on the freaking poster – Jennifer Ehle, Bryan Cranston, Elliott Gold, John Hawkes… like mushrooms on a wet fall day.
And to top it all off, the score was really good, too.
The only thing that bothered me a little bit was the apparent hatred against bloggers. Jude Law’s character really is the only asshole in the entire movie and then there’s this (admittedly brilliant) line: “You’re not a writer. Blogging is like graffiti with punctuation.” [Ouch.] But since the whole thing is inextricably linked to one huge homeopathy smackdown, I’m more than willing to forgive.