Contagion is a 2011 Warner Bros. Pictures thriller film about the rapid progress of a lethal indirect contact transmission virus that kills within days.  As the fast-moving pandemic grows, the worldwide medical community races to find a cure and control the panic that spreads faster than the virus itself. As the virus spreads around the world, ordinary people struggle to survive in a society coming apart.

The film stars Academy Award Winner Marion Cotillard, Academy Award Nominee Matt Damon, Academy Award Nominee Laurence Fishburne, Academy Award Nominee Jude Law, Academy Award Winner Gwyneth Paltrow, Academy Award Winner Kate Winslet, Bryan Cranston, Jennifer Ehle, and Sanaa Lathan.

The music is written and composed by Cliff Martinez.

The film is written by Scott Z. Burns.

The film is produced by Warner Bros. Pictures, Participant Media, Imagenation Abu Dhabi, Double Feature Films, and Gregory Jacobs, and is distributed by Warner Bros. Pictures.

Contagion is directed by Academy Award Winning Director Steven Soderbergh.

Contagion is one of the movies to see right now.  With an amazing cast, end of the world-type story, intriguing score, and top notch directing, this one delivered on all cylinders.  As Andrew Craig of The Fandom Menace said it best, “It’s a zombie movie without the zombies.”

One of the best aspects of this film is that just about everyone in the movie is kind of an asshole.  With the exception of a couple of characters, no one is in the “right or wrong” area, every character is in these subtle shades of grey, and those are the best kinds of characters for a movie like this.  With a cast list this how can you go really go wrong with the acting?  The black sheep in this cast for me going into the movie had to be Gwyneth Paltrow, but luckily for me, she’s barely in the movie.  With an ensemble cast like this it had to be expected that they all wouldn’t get a large amount of screen time, I’m just glad it was Paltrow that drew the short end of that straw.  Special shout outs to Laurence Fishburne and Jude Law who I feel turned in the best performances, especially when the two of them have to interact with each other.  Not to give anything away.

The pacing of the movie was incredible.  Steven Soderbergh excels extremely well at many things when it comes to being a director, but his ability to keep a film flowing consistently throughout the entire showing is one of his best.  Just take a look back in his filmography if you have any doubts.  Even Erin Brockovich was well-paced, and I really don’t care for that film.

The music in the film is one of the most impressive things about the film.  Cliff Martinez has never really delivered a score that was nothing more than just generic background music, but the score for Contagion may not win any awards, shows a lot of promise for the former Red Hot Chili Peppers drummer.

The biggest credit I can give this film is it’s ruthless ability to just kill off characters whenever it sees fit.  If you try to invest tons of emotion into every single character, be prepared to cry your eyes out.

While the story is something we’ve all seen before (as I heard many an Outbreak joke before the release), we ultimately forgive the film for recycling old stories because the direction and acting is so good.  Most movies like this tend to go down the safest common denominator answer so the average movie goer can sometimes predict what is going to happen next.  With Contagion however, I didn’t find that to be a problem.  While some things were are to figure out, other things did keep me on my toes.  And for an avid movie watcher like myself, that is extremely hard to do.

Contagion is a super nice treat for this dead movie month known as September, and I hope it continues to find success.

a 7.5 out of 10

(release date: 9 September 2011)

Marion Cotillard won the Academy Award for Best Actress for her performance as Édith Piaf in Picturehouse‘s La Vie en Rose.  Matt Damon has been nominated twice for the Academy Award, one for Best Actor for his performance as Will Hunting in Miramax FilmsGood Will Hunting, and one for Best Supporting Actor for his performance as Francois Pienaar in Warner Bros. Pictures’ Invictus.  Laurence Fishburne has been nominated for the Academy Award for Best Actor for his performance as Ike Turner in Touchstone PicturesWhat’s Love Got to Do With It.  Jude Law has been nominated twice for the Academy Award for Best Supporting Actor for his performances as Dickie Greenleaf in Paramount Pictures and Miramax Films’ The Talented Mr. Ripley and W. P. Inman in Miramax Films’ Cold Mountain.  Gwyneth Paltrow won the Academy Award for Best Actress for her performance as Viola de Lesseps in Miramax Films and Universal PicturesShakespeare in Love.  Kate Winslet won the Academy Award for Best Actress for her performance as Hanna Schmitz in The Weinstein Company‘s The Reader.

Steven Soderbergh won the Academy Award for Best Director for directing USA FilmsTraffic.

~ by Matt Whitfield on September 13, 2011.

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