Thursday, April 24, 2014

Movie Week - Side Effects

I couldn’t do a Movie Week without having a double feature of Steven Soderbergh.  This time around we start things off Side Effects.  Side Effects is billed as Soderbergh’s final theatrical release before he retired. 

Soderbergh is always a fun director, because you never really know what kind of film you’re going to get.  Sometimes you get Traffic Soderbergh and sometimes you get Full Frontal Soderbergh. 

So which one is Side Effects? 
 Side Effects is a very compelling film.  It starts out as a film about Emily.  She’s dealing with a variety of things.  She’s preparing for he husband’s release from prison.  She’s coping with depression.  She’s struggling with life.  After some dangerous incidents she begins seeing a therapist who prescribes her a drug with…side effects.

Then someone dies and the story shifts to that of her therapist, Dr. Banks.  He’s caught up in the middle of the resulting scandal, which leaves his life in shambles.  From that point he tries to unravel the mystery and get his life back in order. 

It’s an interesting story that weaves Big Pharm theories in with insider trading.  It give a small glimpse into the backdoor deals that help pharmaceuticals companies make names for their products.  And of course it’s a great thriller as well. 

Rooney Mara carries a great deal of the film with her performance, which has so many layers.  She pulls it off masterfully.  Every emotion she conveys perfectly.  He depression is heartbreaking and her panic and fear are palpable. 

Jude Law also turns in a strong performance.  It’s great to see him transition from being the “handsome” actor to being one who can do some heavy lifting.  When his life begins to crumble it’s tough to witness his frantic searches for the truth, but Law captures that energy perfectly. 

Personally there some shots that I loved.  I loved the how the beginning and end of the film mirrored each other.  I also enjoyed the body bag scene, which I personally feel every movie starring [name redacted] should have.  And of course the reveal at the end was shot perfectly. 

In the end, Side Effects is a solid film.  It’s got it’s Soderberghian flourishes and some great performances.  It’s a perfectly fine film to end a theatrical directing career on. 

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