Contagion: Is the True Epidemic the Virus or Fear?

Contagion, directed by Steven Soderbergh and featuring a slew of high-profile actors, is an enthralling and captivating new thriller that will have viewers gripping their seats with anticipation, only to have them quickly retract their hands, as the realization of the millions of germs lurking within each polypropylene fiber of the seat seep into their heads. This film evokes trepidation in audiences and contains all the aspects of an engrossing movie: drama, a bit of romance, and an ugly villain.

This film starts off with Beth Emhoff, played by Gwyneth Paltrow, returning home to Minneapolis after a business trip in Hong Kong. We get a hint of a storyline and some kind of drama within the first scene when the woman is on the phone with a man and then coughs—the villain makes his first appearance. Within only a few days of returning home, her health deteriorates as the virus takes over, and death seizes her with his mighty black hand—but not before she transmits the deadly disease to her son. And so begins the rapid spread of the villainous epidemic that haunts this movie.

Unfortunately, this drama does not last long. From this point on, the movie is simply a sequence of scenes of people coughing and, soon thereafter, dying. The film becomes slow and the plot obscure. Although the choppiness of the movie helps portray a fast-paced and rapidly growing disease affecting people from various parts of the world, it hinders the film in the sense that it does not take the time to dig into the hearts of the characters and personalize the story. There is a lack of storyline that prevents viewers from identifying with the characters and having an emotional experience. Also, at one point, the viewer is taken back two years and reminded of the swine flu pandemic—Contagion is, basically, a portrayal of the spread of H1N1 and the fear of it, but at a much larger and intense scale. Nonetheless, the actors in this film are quite powerful and effectively portray the sick and those who suffer with them, giving the film a serious mood and tone. They flawlessly depict fear and pass this fear on to the viewers.

You will leave the theater a complete germaphobe—terrified to hold your date’s hand, shunning anyone who coughs or sneezes, and thinking twice before leaving the bathroom with your hands unwashed. Though I am not a big fan of thrillers, I thoroughly enjoyed Contagion. This film reaches down into the soul of the viewer and provokes the mightiest of fear—the fear of dying.

Contagion is a superb production with beautiful cinematography that, with short and intense scenes, accentuates the rapid spread of disease and its horrors. Although the plot, at times, feels a bit obscure, this film provokes anticipation and true terror in audiences and accurately illustrates the rapid spread of disease and fear.

As a frequent movie-goer, I give it a 4-star rating.





Join the Discussion

This article has 3 comments. Post your own now!

hunterkravitz said...
Nov. 9, 2011 at 7:45 pm
Gina, you paint a word picture in my mind... I love your use of imagery! 5 THUMBS UP!
 
Gina1 said...
Oct. 7, 2011 at 8:18 am
I love this article.  The author is mature and sophisticated.
 
AmyNG said...
Oct. 6, 2011 at 11:09 pm
THIS IS AMAZING IM SO PROUD OF MY GINSTERZ!
 
bRealTime banner ad on the left side
Site Feedback