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:: Contagion

One bright spark decided to class Contagion as a science fiction film… nothing could be further from the truth. The storyline of Contagion has happened in world history before and if you listen to the experts is likely to happen together. Rather than a sci-fi this film is a stunning thriller that captures human nature in a way most films can only dream of.

When Beth Emhoff (Gwyneth Paltrow) returns from a business trip to Asia with the flu nobody bats an eyelid, yet only a couple of days later her husband, Mitch (Matt Damon) is stunned when she dies. With the virus she contracted spreading like wildfire across the world soon experts such as Dr. Ellis Cheaver (Laurence Fishburne), Dr. Leonora Orantes (Marion Cotillard) and Dr. Erin Mears (Kate Winslet) spring to action around the globe in a bid to contain the virus and find a cure for it. Meanwhile, web journalist, Alan Krumwiede (Jude Law) keeps all the experts on their toe as he seems to always be one step ahead of them.

With any other director at the helm Contagion would turn into a huge production full of special effects and car chases but with the brilliant, Steven Sodebergh at the helm the film becomes a serious thriller that keeps you on the edge of your seat because of the fact that it seems so realistic it feels as if your are watching a docco. Credit must also be paid to screenwriter, Scott Z. Burns whose terrific script leaves the audience with characters that they care about… this adds to the suspense as you don’t want to see one of your faves succumb to the virus. Part of the films realism must also be credited to Burns who has obviously put in the hours researching what would happen in the event of a crisis such as this.

Contagion also benefits from having a stellar cast. As you would expect the likes of Matt Damon, Laurence Fishburne and Kate Winslet (great to see her back on the big screen after yet another lay-off) are at the top of their game, while the support cast of Elliott Gould, Bryan Cranston and Enrico Colantoni get a chance to remind Hollywood of their skills. However, the standout is Jude Law who puts in one of the finest performances of his career and it is obvious that he enjoyed playing a character that only raises more questions in the films plot… at times Law is almost unrecognizable.

This goes to close to be the perfect Hollywood thriller. With a terrific cast and amazing script Contagion was always going to be a winner but with the genius known as Steven Soderbergh at the helm it has an edge that makes a film that is a must see.