Thanks to services such as those offered by direct TV and Netflix, people are enjoying new movies at home almost immediately after the movies leave the theaters. While in the past we all had to wait for sometimes as many as six months to enjoy home viewing after a movie left the theaters, it is becoming increasingly easy to simulate a theater experience in the living room. With this in mind, this article will seek to provide a brief review of Contagion, one of the late summer’s hottest movies, which will be coming to your home screen before you know it.
Few movies have garnered as large an amount of advertisement-based attention this summer as Contagion. Part of this is because of the movie’s absolutely dynamite cast – including Matt Damon, Kate Winslet, Jude Law, Gwyneth Paltrow, Laurence Fishburne, and Marion Cotillard, among others – and part of it is because of the movie’s intriguing and hauntingly plausible subject: a worldwide epidemic that threatens the human race. Given such a gripping concept and such a capable cast, this movie seemed, purely from its advertisements, to be a sure-fire hit. So, did it deliver? In this reviewer’s opinion, yes and no.
The film strikes gold in two ways. The first of these is that the performances delivered by the all-star cast are just as good, if not better than you would expect based on each of the actors’ pedigrees. Assigned the difficult task of reacting convincingly to the horrors and various implications of a deadly worldwide epidemic, each and every one of the veteran performers in this movie delivers flawlessly. Additionally, the film succeeds in portraying several different angles of what a realistic human reaction to such an epidemic would look like. Some panic; others stay composed, trying to solve the problem; some take advantage of the situation for personal gain; some go to extreme lengths to protect their families. In this sense, Contagion comes across as a thoroughly realistic film.
The trouble with this film is that it almost overreaches in its attempt to be thorough and realistic. While this is not a crippling factor, it does at times detract from the enjoyment of the experience. Essentially, each of the major actors and actresses listed above has his or her own subplot within the concept of Contagion, and at times it almost seems as if this opens up too many storylines. This results in a somewhat unorganized feeling to the film, as well as an ending that is not altogether satisfying, as some storylines are simply not concluded. So, while Contagion is about as realistic as such a movie could possibly be (which is hauntingly realistic, actually), and while its somewhat hectic arrangement may not be altogether accidental, it leaves a bit to be desired at certain points.
Guest editorial provided by cabletelevision.net