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Film Review: Contagion

09/23/2011 12:24PM ● Published by Wendy Sipple

What if a world epidemic wiped out a sizable portion of the human population? In Contagion that issue is explored with as much realism as the film makers can muster. Starring a number of A-list actors, the story follows several storylines in the race to isolate the virus and find a vaccine all while millions of people are dying worldwide.

Acclaimed director Steven Soderbergh crafted this tale almost as a depiction as opposed to a story. Where most films would follow a singular character and about the emotional journey that character takes, Contagion, instead, almost feels detached from the emotional elements of the characters and focuses on the scenarios. So while the movie is certainly very interesting to watch unfold it does not hold an impact from an entertainment point of view.

The movie contained several subplots, never one taking a lead. This covered the issue from nearly every conceivable vantage point but it did not allow any one character to stick with you. Many of the main roles are filled by A-List actors and all of them do a nice job with their parts. Laurence Fishburne and Kate Winslet stand out the most with their roles of a CDC Chief and an epidemic specialist respectively.

A lot of the movie is devoid of music which added to its documentary style delivery. When music was introduced it was a bit jarring and to be honest I did not care for the soundtrack by Cliff Martinez. The music did not seem to match the tone of the movie at all. The cinematography which was also done by Steven Soderbergh was done very well. The shots lingered on hands touching public places like drinking glasses, handles and buttons just long enough to be effective without being distracting. His choice in color scheme for the movie enhanced the isolation that individuals placed themselves in by acting his shots with a blue hue.  

Contagion is not your run of the mill blockbuster Hollywood film. This movie will not appeal to everyone. If you are the type of person who seems to watch a lot of the disaster scenario shows on Discovery Channel, this film will be right up your alley. Like those shows, Contagion takes logical steps over the course of the film and is very believable at how it unfolds its disaster scenario. However if you like characters that you can cheer for and connect emotionally with, this movie may not be for you. There are a few characters in Contagion that have personal stories, but the movie doesn’t stick with the characters long enough to give them much weight. Regardless, the movie is well done and accomplishes what it sets out to do, even if it’s not your type of movie.

Films like Contagion – Outbreak, I am Legend and Children of Men


Justin Buettner is Style's resident movie dude! How did he get this role? Well, he graduated from Loyola Marymount University with a Bachelor of Arts in film Production and a duel minor in Animation and Business with an emphasis in the entertainment field. He later went on to work on several independent films in various key roles including writer and later worked in the special effects field as a motion capture artist. He has since relocated to the Sacramento area with his family and continues writing for small independent films in addition to his movie reviews for Style Magazine.

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