Contagion: It’s Snot What You Think
10 minutes into Contagion and I have already become a bit squeamish. This movie is a germaphobe’s equivalent of waterboarding and I am not even a germaphobe! Actually, I do have a pet peeve with people coughing or sneezing without covering their mouth. It annoys me to no end and I find it highly inconsiderate of my personal, germy space. It is in this regard that this movie did absolutely no favors for me or my laid-back-Saturday-let’s-take-in-a-movie feeling.
The only way to describe this movie is a mix between a High School Educational video, a NOVA documentary, and an Alfred Hitchcock film. The pacing, musical score, and cinematography is unlike any movie I have seen in recent memory and I left the theater still undecided if that was a good thing or not. I enjoy a movie that can step away from the crowd and introduce something different, but this one leaves you with a feeling that you just watched a simulation of a real life event and, just as in real life, with no mystical or profound conclusion to the matter. It is a smart movie that holds your hand during the scientific mumbo-jumbo but gladly releases it during the subplots and expects you to email the main characters when you get home- to see how they are doing.
The script did a fair job of representing almost all sides of this situation; from government involvement to conspiracy theorists. The world of Contagion is very believable and that is to the credit of the wonderful cast of actors that carried out this unnerving performance. Gwyneth Paltrow is a fantastic sickie and Jude Law is spot on in his role as a snaggle-toothed blogger with a self-made banner of truth over him. Lawrence Fishburn is solid in both his disposition (he plays himself) and expands his career by including nasal sprays to his arsenal of red and blue pills. Demetri Martin and his beetle haircut had a small role which offered nothing to the story, but was nice seeing him in this type of movie. It wasn’t so much scary (although my wife did jolt on a scene) as it was eerily homogenous. Halfway through the movie, I had already flipped through a mental list of door handles, railings, keyboards, cubicles, and handshakes I encountered within the day. This movie should have come with a sample bottle of Purell, even for those who already have a gold star at battling their own bacteria demons. It just makes you feel….eck.
In the end, you learn a little bit about virus strains, our rationale and process in which we look to squelch them, and just exactly what Gwyneth Paltrow would look like on an autopsy table. All things you really wanted to know, right? I have a feeling this movie released at just the right time and therefor, needn’t a large marketing campaign because every “Get Your Flu Vaccine Here” sign that goes up will certainly align with this movie in the minds of those who have seen or heard of it. If you are one of those who has yet to see anything on this flick, grab a box of Clorox wipes and watch the trailer here. Be careful. I sneezed on this link at least twice during this summation.