Edge

‘Contagion’ leaves the audience hypochondriacal

Courtesy Collider.com

The film opens with a black screen and the sound of coughing – not just any cough, though; that really phlegmy, wet kind of cough that may just be one of the worst sounds in the world.

As that very first sound should have hinted, the cacophony of coughing is one of the sounds that most makes up the audio in Steven Soderbergh’s new disease-outbreak film “Contagion.” That is, when we’re not treated to one of the films excessive montage sequences with its edgy, electronic score complementing the sight of sick people contaminating those everyday objects we can’t help but come into contact with.
It should come as no surprise that right from the get go, you know “Contagion” isn’t going to be a pleasant experience. What is remarkably surprising, though, is the fact that a film with one of the most absolutely stellar cast in years (Matt Damon, Kate Winslet, Gwyneth Paltrow, Laurence Fishburne, Jude Law, Marion Cotillard and Jennifer Ehle) manages to make such little use of the immense talent at its disposal.
The film follows the rapid spread of an unknown, highly communicable deadly virus, intercutting between different characters who are all directly affected by the epidemic, including a husband who just lost his wife and step-son to the disease, an Internet blogger and those in charge of the Center for Disease Control and World Heath Organization.
It’s not so much the fact that the film focuses on so many different storylines, but it starts to become a problem when even the main characters feel like secondary characters because we spend such large stretches away from them. Even that might have been okay if we ever actually felt like we got to know most of the characters, thus giving us a reason to care about their well-being in the first place.
By most standards, “Contagion” is a well-made film. But its lack of any heart, soul or emotion that dooms it into being one of those overlong, overly ambitious films that doesn’t quite hit the mark.
More of a stylistically grim experiment in fear than anything else, “Contagion” strives to make the most rational person hypochondriacal (and succeeds in doing so admirably), but left me feeling like I didn’t get anything back in return other than the sour taste the film left in my mouth. You know a movie is screwing with your head when you hear someone cough in the theater and your first thought is, “EVACUATE!” Whether that’s a good thing or not, I’ll let you decide for yourself.
Rating: 2 stars
September 11, 2011

Reporters

Lauren Cohen

Contributing Edge Writer


Around the Web
  • Miami Herald
  • UM News
  • HurricaneSports

A six-pack of Canes notes on a Thursday: ▪ Draft-eligible Canes players are getting increasing recog ...

Three days after the University of Miami announced that defensive line coach Craig Kuligowski was le ...

Not only are the Hurricanes in the mix for at least five high-end running backs for the 2019 class, ...

After assembling one of the nation’s best groups of skill position players in the 2018 recruiting cl ...

Coach Kool, AKA Craig Kuligowski, is gone from the University of Miami, which is entirely uncool wit ...

Student a cappella group BisCaydence wins quarterfinals and advances to the next round in the intern ...

A closer look at the University of Miami's executive vice president for business and finance an ...

The popular Christian minister preached to more people than any other evangelist in history. ...

A vigil on the University of Miami campus, organized by UM students who graduated from Marjory Stone ...

The latest speaker in the popular lecture series at the Rosenstiel School, Jeff Goodell, shared insi ...

The University of Miami women's track team kicked off the 2018 ACC Indoor Championships with a ...

Continuing a season-opening, seven-game homestand, No. 24 Miami is looking for its second straight s ...

The Hurricanes fell in their final road game of the season, 70-51, at Georgia Tech. ...

The University of Miami men's tennis team (5-2) returns to the court on Friday at 4 p.m., as it ...

Former Hurricane guard signs 10-day contract with Indiana Pacers. ...

TMH Twitter Feed
About TMH

The Miami Hurricane is the student newspaper of the University of Miami in Coral Gables, Fla. The newspaper is edited and produced by undergraduate students at UM and is published weekly in print on Tuesdays during the regular academic year.