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Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Rath's Reviews: Contagion

Ask yourself a couple questions...How well prepared are you if a high-mortality rate virus were to begin spreading across the globe? How well prepared are we as a nation? How well prepared is the world? Would you know what to do? Would your loved ones know what to do? Would our government even know what to do?

Contagion poses some very real and very scary scenarios throughout its length, and comes out with one major conclusion: the world is not ready for an epidemic. This is certainly no H1-N1 we are talking about here; the movie is talking about a virus that latches itself on intricately, and continues to change, making the creation of an antivirus extremely difficult. And once you see how easy it all began, you will leave the theater truly terrified.

I'm not sure how to go about reviewing Contagion. I really think its a movie everyone should see just for the sake of knowledge, but I dont think I would ever watch it again. The movie itself is very dark and gets serious very fast. It lays the ground early and within 15 minutes you know that no one is safe and this movie is not going to hold back its scenario. I'm used to Hollywood leading us by the hand, assuring us that everything is going to be all right, but Contagion does no such thing for most of its run time.

I'm not sure Gwyneth Paltrow will be returning to Glee anytime soon...
 As you can see from the poster above, some big name stars signed up for this one, and it definitely payed off. Their acting skills all shine through within their respective plot lines with Matt Damon and Laurence Fishburne doing the best job in my opinion. But then again, that is because they have the most material within the movie. In addition to the acting, the movie does a good job of telling its story with clean editing and proper pacing. I also really enjoyed the soundtrack which was mainly just some synthesizers, but it seemed to add some urgency to the already tense proceedings.


One of my biggest complaints about the movie, and it may be my only one, is the whole Jude Law story line. In the movie, he is a blogger who claims he found an additional cure on top of the antivirus. Looking back, if you were to subtract his entire plot from the movie, I think it wouldn't have mattered. It serves as an annoying distraction, much like the dirty tooth that his character sports (I couldnt stop looking at it). I think the movie would have been much stronger if it had eliminated Jude Law's section and focused more on the containment, quarantine, and public reaction to the virus.

"I feel like I'm forgetting something..."
Besides Jude's part, the movie is quite honestly near-perfect and I was engrossed from beginning to end. It wants to be a very real movie and it achieves that in multiple senses. The description of the virus and the curing process is very scientific and the movie manages to explain it in a professional manner that I'm sure most could understand, and even more importantly, it is realistic. People react the way you would presume. A little secret from the CDC to get out of town turns into a Facebook group, the last available antivirus shots are fought over, looters begin to break into houses, etc. The movie turns very critical on the human population suddenly, and to be honest, I think that is the scariest part of the whole thing. If there ever was a virus that was inflicting enough people to kill 1% of the world's total population (thats a lot of people) and the nation were to basically shut down, people would go crazy. It would be a lawless society for the most part, and 911 would be practically unreachable. Like I said, scary stuff.

"We have gathered you here to announce that Neo did not take the red pill. Sad face :-( "
Contagion is truthfully one of the scariest movies I have ever seen. It's scary because it's real. It could happen tomorrow, and there is really nothing that we could do about it. Like I said earlier, I recommend everyone to see it, not to scare people, but just so that there is a sense of awareness that this scenario is always a possibility. And once you see just how easy it is created, and just how easy it spreads, I'm sure you will never look at a bowl of peanuts, or a bus handle, or a handshake the same way again.

And just you wait until someone in the theater seat behind you coughs....

Pros:

  • Effective look at what the world faces at any given moment. Truly opens your eyes
  • Not particularly left or right winged politically, which coming from Hollywood, is very much appreciated
  • Superb performances from all
  • Very real and sincere look at how the U.S. in particular would handle the situation
  • Sadly, it presents a very real portrayal of how the human race would most likely react
  • Organized well, edited well, and nifty soundtrack
  • Hopefully will teach people to wash their hands and cover their damn mouths
  • My dad liked it, "That was very interesting!" - Jerry Rath, 2011
Cons:

  • Jude Law's character plot is useless
  • Jude Law's character's front tooth is annoying and distracting
  • The movie moves too swiftly at some points, not taking time to let the dust of present scenes settle
  • Not very re-watchable, unless you want to watch a Debbie Downer movie

Rath's Review Score: 8.5/10

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