I think it’s safe to assume that 2020 has given us quite the scare in regards to any films about deadly viruses. Though, I would just like to say that if there is a film that takes on this subject with utter perfection; it is Contagion. Directed by the brilliant mind of genius auteur Steven Soderbergh, Contagion is a truly underrated political thriller and drama film that is set in a world that is panicking due to a deadly virus. Is this film, however, as good as the indie film reviewers say it is? YEP!
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The Movie Review
Steven Soderbergh’s filmography is intense, featuring films from all sorts of genres from stripper epics such as Magic Mike to psychological thrillers like Unsane, to heist films such as Ocean’s Eleven and Logan Lucky to the film we’re going to talk about; the science-fiction political thriller Contagion.
Working on such a wide variety of films, each having different tropes allotted to them; has made Soderbergh very aware of what to show and when in a film. He knows how to manipulate a script into doing his bidding, and that is what he does with Contagion.
The film’s plot follows the spread of a deadly virus that affects the respiratory system of human beings. It also showcases this virus from the point of view of the researchers working to find a cure and also the social panic and chaos that ensues after the pandemic takes a toll on people. It even goes towards the end of the pandemic, showing how the vaccine is spread and injected into people to halt the progress of this virus from spreading any further.
The film follows several different plotlines in conjunction, using the Hyperlink Cinema filmmaking style; something Soderbergh is a master of. He has been using the Hyperlink Cinema filmmaking style ever since his Ocean’s Eleven film, which showcased multiple sub-stories and sub-plots going on as the heist would be planned and would be taking place.
The cast of Soderbergh’s Contagion is AMAZING, it only has high-level actors. You have Marion Cottilard, Matt Damon, Kate Winslet, Gwyneth Paltrow, Jude Law, Laurence Fishburn, Bryan Cranston, Chin Han, Elliot Gould, and Jennifer Ehle; all in the same film!
This is a short film though, with a runtime of only one hour and 36 minutes. The director manages to keep all of these stories tied together, in such a short runtime and with such a large cast of characters. Safe to say; Soderbergh has truly mastered his craft.
When it comes to the cinematography of Contagion, despite being a horrifying film it is amazingly shot. The world of pure social panic and disorder is shown through the gorgeous lens of Peter Andrews, the alter ego of the auteur director Steven Soderbergh himself!
He is responsible for the cinematography of his own films, while also directing them himself. He does an excellent job of lighting, and also an excellent job of being a great director of photography. The angles and camera work is quite innovative, which is to be expected by Soderbergh as he shot Unsane completely on an iPhone!
The Bottom Line
To summarize everything, Contagion is not just another film about viruses and social disorder, it’s a film about fear and how it manipulates the hive mentality of humanity. Fear can be the most powerful motivator for humans to be good as well as bad.
Contagion tackles these aspects, while also showing us how the good folk work under the radar, 24/7 to bring cures and vaccines to the frontlines in wars against deadly viruses and pandemics. If you have the heart to watch something that is VERY relatable to the current situation of the world, then there is no other film that does it better than Contagion.