Jan 242012

Movies are supposed to provide their audiences with an escape from grim realities. Some films however, do the exact opposite.

Steven Soderbergh’s ultra-realistic Contagion chronicles the life-span of a pandemic from ‘Day 1′ to a time where a vaccine is produced to return the planet to ‘normalcy’. Plot-wise it is really as simplistic as that but what keeps Contagion intriguing are the many interweaving stories of characters caught up in the web of the pandemic.

With a stellar ensemble cast including Laurence Fishburne, Marion Cotillard, Matt Damon, Kate Winslet, Jude Law and Gwyneth Paltrow, Contagion is never short of star power (Singapore’s Chin Han appears as well) and whilst there are twists and turns along the way (as both Paltrow’s and Winslet’s characters do not survive the movie), the main plot is rather predictable. As mentioned before, Soderbergh’s intention was to represent how the world would react to a pandemic with all its attendant implications.

To such extent, Soderbergh has succeeded. Although it does make for frightening viewing for most part – I mean, who really gets scared by vampires, zombies or ghosts which we know do not exist? A pandemic (remember SARS, H1N1?) is a totally different proposition. Still, there is the underlying hope that despite the new threats the human race will always survive (as history has attested to many times).

Clean and efficient, with the feel of a documentary – Contagion comes across exactly that but ultimately a little cold, stark and humourless.

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