- Genre: Thriller
- Director: Steven Soderbergh
- Stars: Matt Damon, Kate Winslet, Jude Law
- Rate: ** 1/2
Steven Soderbergh’s Contagion is the feel-bad movie of 2011. A star-studded thriller, it’s reminiscent of 1970s disaster movies, yet it’s more grounded in reality. The film details the rapid spread of a lethal new virus, MEV-1, and does so quite realistically, at least until an outbreak of maudlin illogic near the end.
Working as his own cinematographer from a script by screenwriter Scott Z. Burns (The Bourne Ultimatum), Soderbergh spares few sensibilities in outlining how quickly a contagion would cross international boundaries.
Gwyneth Paltrow is Patient Zero, a business traveller named Beth Emhoff, who is intriguingly introduced on Day Two of her swiftly developing infection — we don’t immediately know what happened on Day One. Whatever Beth caught on a trip to China is now returning home with her to Minnesota, where her new husband, Mitch (Matt Damon), and young son are waiting to welcome her home.
Beth is barely through the door when crisis strikes. As Mitch struggles to take in what’s happened to his family, governments attempt to grasp an escalating infection rate and body count as scientists search for a vaccine.
At times, Soderbergh seems to lose track of too many subplots that include a kidnapping, marital infidelity, a government inquiry and a father-daughter trek. But Contagion demonstrates he still has it in him to deliver a mainstream movie. Just don’t forget to Purell before watching. Extras include making-of featurettes.