Saturday, February 18, 2012

It'll make you paranoid, but educated

What if there was a virus that can spread around the world in a few months and can cause death in a matter of a couple days?  There are plenty of those right now, but we have vaccines for them.  What if we didn't?  The 2011 film Contagion explores this 'what if'.

It explores this first and foremost from the perspective of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and a few of its doctors (Laurence Fishburne and Kate Winslet included).  This is the major U.S. government run agency that is responsible for these situations.

The film also looks at it from the perspective of an immune widower (Matt Damon) who lost his wife (Gwyneth Paltrow) soon after her return from a business trip to Hong Kong (and her secret sexual affair during layover on the way back).  Later that day he lost his young stepson.

Finally, the film also follows a professional conspiracy blogger (Jude Law) and his opinions on the virus and how it is being handled by the government.

This film really gets the viewer thinking about what he/she would do if this really happened.  Because it approaches the concept in such a believable way (unlike The Day After Tomorrow, et al.), it really has the ability to scare you.  How would you handle these situations?  What would you do?  I was more affected by the chaos that ensued when quarantines were set up than by the effects of the disease itself.  Fear can lead people to do desperate things.

Contagion really digs into the politics and the procedures that take place behind the scenes in government.  Everyone wants a say and this leads to inefficiency and slow-flowing information.  It is fascinating, yet unnerving.

Contagion is a good film covering a scary topic.  There are a few graphic scenes (an autopsy and the dying people) and a little language that would prevent me from showing a younger kid (who would probably be bored anyway), but otherwise this is a clean film.  Contagion runs 106 minutes and is rated PG-13.  I give it 8 ramheads out of 10.

1 comment:

  1. I agree completely that the subject is approached in a more realistic and believable thing I thought really assisted with this aspect were the characters - I felt like I was really getting attached to these people and feeling what they were feeling, which drew you in even more think about how you would handle things in their situation. I think the movie is a good exploration of human nature, easily fear takes hold of us, and how we can be so easily caught off guard when we think things are going just fine. I'm thinking especially of the situation with matt damon's character when he loses his wife and then finds out he was cheating on her.  How could you handle that? I don't know what I would have done - I certainly wouldn't have handled it as strongly as this character does, and I personally think he serves as the hero of the story...yes, he was just as scared and afraid as everyone else, but he seemed to be not only immune to the virus, but immune to the fear - he was strong and maintained his integrity throughout the entire film, unlike so many others who were completely losing it.