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Movie Review: Contagion

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Prinz Lee wrote this review 5 years and 8 months ago

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From an undisclosed bunker specially made for ‘The Prinz,’ I sit with a full blown Hazmat suit, as I embark on this virus-free review. I will admit, listening to myself breath like Darth Vader is kind of freaky, but we live in an era where precautions must be taken, so please respect my decision of going a bit germ-phobic-obsessive, while embracing my “Safety First” attitude. (Violent Cough)

Setting the pace off, I’d like to say, a mistake I made—I’m man enough to admit it—was having confused Soderbergh’s CONTAGION to 1995’s OUTBREAK! Why? Well, CONTAGION provides a much more realistic affect towards a true-life global spread of a deathly virus which can totally bring everything and everyone to its knees!  

Cutting to the chase, let’s call it like it is…the cast of CONTAGION is top notch! A bunch of Academy Award winners in Damon, Winslet, Paltrow, teamed up with a couple of nominees in Law and Fishburne! Seriously, how can we fail there, along with the man who brought us films like TRAFFIC and CHE, CONTAGION adds to Soderbergh’s list of films which allows moviegoers to go on a journey from the start, and embark on what intertwines everything, from thriller, to drama, to international espionage and last but not least…deathly health issues! In hindsight, what I feel will be 2011’s most thought-provoking film!

What seems to be simple, the film’s complex premise follows the rapid progress of a lethal airborne virus that kills within days! As the fast-moving epidemic grows, the worldwide medical community races to find a cure and control the panic that spreads faster than the virus itself. At the same time, ordinary people struggle to survive in a society coming apart.

Without any secret—seeing as the trailer gives it away—Paltrow’s character arrives back from a business trip to Asia with a simple feeling of what she believes is jet lag—yeah right—like she’s never ever felt before. In a matter of 24 hours, this broad is sick way beyond any kind of alleviation or help! Damon, who plays her husband, rushes her woman to the hospital, where after so much love and rush…it’s too late! Fuck! A Contagion has snuffed her out of this world. However, at this point in time, her death is the least that stands out…again we’ve seen it already and it’s obvious, but what stands out in all this is the flawless job Damon does upon becoming aware of his wife’s death. SHIT! I don’t want to give away beyond here, but this guy, kicks ass on screen!

And with that said, folks, CONTAGION utilizes Hollywood meat the way pediatricians use toys or candy to allow the roughness easier to take. Although it’s uniquely paced and freakishly shot, this is a thriller for flick-junkies and conspiracy theorists, envisioning a lethal “what-if” scenario that unleashes in labs all over, airports, office buildings, perhaps whore-houses (Chuckle) and hospitals.

It’s a stone cold approach which peels the disaster genre of its typical melodrama bullshit, while still exploring in smaller ways how this virus affects Damon’s honest family and how Law’s self-righteous crusader uses the Internet to spread panic like a virus of its own. While that’s a cringing scene to scene offset—at least, if your ass is into steps of how a virus works, scientists work to put a halt to it and how information fucks up and fails to stay contained—the minor drop in detail in the characters wears thin over time. There’s something somewhat disappointing about a globe-hopping, multi-character drama centered on a compelling subject that fails to give its heavyweight cast rich material to explore. I mean it’s nothing way out there, but it’s just how I felt about it.

The actors are amazing, but this ensemble needed a bit more to chew on and bounce off if there were going to be mentions like H1N1 and terrorism threats for example, but with all the hoopla and emotional, psychological and mental laps the film presents…I was able to overlook it! So, please, don’t jump down my throat, because there is a crucial level of grittiness to this piece that I totally loved, and set this film apart in many ways! Therefore, like TRAFFIC, CONTAGION should spark the Oscar race buzz as early as possible! Question here is…Is it a best picture contender? Does it apply to have a best actor/actress or supporting actor/actress? Best direction? Best screenplay? Who knows? We only have three (3) months left of releases, therefore, having been released right now, will leave it fresh for those involved with the Academy Awards.

Without doubt, CONTAGION will have you thinking twice when shaking someone’s hand, using someone else’s cell, grabbing on to train poles etc., as well as driving you nuts when thinking although fictional, what if something like that DID HAPPEN! We’ve had several reports during the last few years, so keep in mind after watching films displaying major cities like mine having landmark sky scrapers tumble down, then watching it live on TV, sometimes…without any fault other than mankind’s own…shit like this CAN happen. I’m an OCD nut and many laugh at it...but it serves its purpose.

With that said, enjoy the film and now I need to wrap up here as I’m following through with my decontamination bath after taking this Hazmat suit off!



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