Contagion This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine.

October 16, 2011
Don't talk to anyone. Don't touch anything. And be afraid, for Steven Soderbergh's intriguing new thriller, “Contagion,” will leave you questioning every surface you come in contact with. Whether it's grabbing a subway pole or handling someone's cell phone, it's hard not to get infected in this ultra-realistic movie.

“Contagion” focuses on a new and unidentified virus that has spread worldwide. There's virtually no information about it, but what we do know is that after contracting it, the victim suffers and dies within days. Even the most brilliant scientists have no clue how to deal with it. The virus spreads rapidly, and after a few weeks, much of earth's population is infected.

The plot follows many storylines. For example, Mitch Emhoff (Matt Damon) is a grieving husband who happens to be immune to the virus. He must protect his daughter while the world collapses around them. The film also chronicles a group of scientists around the globe, including Dr. Erin Mears (Kate Winslet), who will try anything to discover the virus's origins and stop it.

With a talented cast and crew, this horrifying topic makes for an emotional and fascinating movie about facing disaster. Actors like Jude Law, Gwyneth Paltrow, Kate Winslet, and Matt Damon really deliver, bringing this tale of pandemic – and society's ­reaction – to life. The acting is very genuine, and their emotions are displayed beautifully. Soderbergh intensely focuses on the human emotions of the crisis, not just the science. He employs an interesting cinematic style, focusing the camera on objects that are contaminated by the virus. It brings a real punch to the cinematography.

“Contagion” involves terror and death, yet this isn't a stereotypical horror movie. Some scenes may not be for the faint of heart, but most of the movie is, in fact, disturbingly realistic. It will make you think, Could this happen in real life? After watching “Contagion” you'll feel it very well could. The plot is backed up scientifically, which makes it that much more terrifying.

A fantastic component of “Contagion” is that it's a movie about disease that keeps its focus on how the pandemic affects humanity. It shows the world in mass panic and society breaking apart. The streets are abandoned and flooded with garbage. Homes and stores are robbed and vandalized. Those disturbing scenes are some of my favorites.

I got chills watching how quickly the pandemonium spread. I found the idea of uncontrolled panic even scarier than the virus. “Nothing spreads like fear,” is the movie's tagline, and that's absolutely the case. The public is very realistically depicted. I can just see people ignoring others and scrambling to take care of their own needs first. There is also a terrible irony to the movie: the world does everything possible not to be exposed to each other, yet it's impossible to overcome this challenge without help from others.

“Contagion” had me anxious for a cure and hoping for order to be restored. Be prepared to be paranoid, enthralled, and itching to sanitize yourself.

This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine. This piece has been published in Teen Ink’s monthly print magazine.

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