Contagion An all-star cast cough and splutter their way through Steven Soderbergh's sobering look at the effects of a worldwide pandemic virus on society and human nature. Gwyneth Paltrow plays Beth Emhoff, the first victim of a new strain of virus spread by human contact and Soderbergh wastes no opportunity to pray on the paranoia of the 'antibacterial generation'. There are plenty of lingering close-ups of doorhandles, work surfaces, bar snacks and sneezing as we watch the rapid spread of the fast acting debutant. Matt Damon, Laurence Fishburne, Jude Law and Kate Winslet amongst others, give solid performances as the story unfolds. Within days, millions are infected and society begins to deconstruct as governments struggle to contain the outbreak. The film has just as much to say about the spread of rumour and panic via the Internet as it does about bacterial infection as illness footage and untested on-line cures travel just as quickly across the globe. There is little emotion or action to speak of and the film plays out in quite a factual and stark manor, feeling more like a sombre 'best case scenario' film prepared by government scientists. If it's "ActionVirus" you want, go and rent the 1995 film 'Outbreak'. If you want an insight in to just what may happen in the event of a long overdue pandemic, then Contagion is well worth a watch - just don't go if you have a cold.
7.5 out of 10
Cert 12A (uk)