Dir: Steven Soderbergh
Cast: Rooney Mara, Jude Law, Channing Tatum and Catherine Zeta-Jones
Synopsis: Emily and Martin are a successful New York couple whose world unravels when a new drug prescribed by Emily’s psychiatrist – intended to treat anxiety – has unexpected side effects
*Review Note* I’m going to try and review this without giving away too much of the story. So if it feels like I’m not giving you too much to work on there is a reason for it. Also, I wanted to post this sooner but forgot to.
Side Effects has a lot going on, the trailers would make you think one thing but it’s not that entirely, but don’t let that scare you. However, if you’re familiar with Steven Soderbergh’s work (especially his later work like Contagion and even Haywire) you know that’s just the norm. Nonetheless, Soderbergh reunites with Contagion writer Scott Z. Burns to take on pharmacological paranoia and maybe like Contagion is trying to scare the crap out of you to never take a pill again (maybe).
The film is built around Emily Taylor (Mara) who is suffering from severe depression after her husband Martin (Tatum) is released from prison for insider trading. Her depression eventually gets to her and it leads to an event that makes her cross paths with Dr. Jonathan Banks (Law). He eventually puts her in a series of pills that soon turns out to be problematic and leads to some serious problems.
The movie starts off with a nice homage to Hitchcock (Psycho if you need the help), dare I say the whole movie has some Hitchcock elements, and with a very moody score playing throughout it almost sets the mood for at least the first half of the movie.
Rooney Mara once again proves that she can hold her own with the best the Hollywood has to offer and makes feel for Emily as she’s taking all these pills in order to live a normal life again. However, the movie is really about Jude Law’s Jonathan Banks character as his life is turned upside down from what happens after Emily. He almost becomes obsessed himself trying to figure out how all this could have happened to him and to Emily. Catherine Zeta-Jones pops up as Emily’s previous doctor and is really the one that gives Banks the new medication that leads to the whole movie’s outcome.
I think some people will find this movie tough to stick with for the reason that Soderbergh likes to drag some scenes out. But when you see the end result it’s pretty much worth it. The movie has a lot going on and hopefully, if you pay attention to everything, you can get what the hell is and was going on. Stick with the movie and don’t give up.
All in all, Side Effects is filled with great performances and plays with your views on the movie up until the very end
4 out of 5