Movie Summary of Contagion by Michael The Moviegoer.
CONTAGION = ***
Gwyneth Paltrow coughs in the dark. Thus begins “Contagion”, Steven Soderbergh’s new thriller about a global viral epidemic that threatens all of humanity. This concept, along with it’s all-star cast, would have been the perfect formula for an Irwin Allen 1970s disaster epic. For Soderbergh, known more for real-world films such as “Traffic” and “Erin Brockovich”, this oddball detour into B-movie territory succeeds only because it’s not a total disappointment.
Paltrow’s cough starts a worldwide chain-reaction of fear and paranoia that interweaves a series of subplots and characters played by a long list of well known movie stars including Matt Damon, Kate Winslet, Marion Cotillard, Jude Law and Laurence Fishburne.
The virus everyone is running from is the fictitious MEV-1 virus which seems to kill its host faster than even AIDS ever could. But the movie fails to create that riveting sense of urgency so essential in thrillers. Instead, there are a lot of good performances with well-written dialogue, but no heightened level of suspense. That being said, this cast of actors are all so good that they would probably hold our interest if performaing in a screen adaptaion of the phone book.
For that reason, “Contagion” is never boring even if it does lack any big thrills. If you’ve seen the trailer, you can imagine what the full-length film will be like and you’d be right. “Contagion” is very entertaining despite not being very surprising.
DVD Double Feature:
A more mainstream popcorn-style film of this subject is 1995’s “Outbreak” starring Dustin Hoffman. But the movie “Contagion” most closely resembles is 1993’s “And The Band Played On”. HBO’s true story of the origin of the AIDS epidemic also has an all-star cast including Matthew Modine, Alan Alda, Richard Gere, Anjelica Huston, Lily Tomlin and Steve Martin among others. Much more frightening, because it’s real.
Michael The Moviegoer