By The Walking Said
Thanks to Roadshow Films, we had the chance to see Side Effects before its Australian cinematic release. This is our review of the film – but as usual – no matter what we say, we recommend that you still go to your local cinema and see the film because: There is no better critic than yourself!
Steven Soderbergh (Erin Brockovich and Ocean’s Eleven) sees the revered director re-team with screenwriter Scott Z. Burns (Contagion and The Bourne Ultimatum) for a unsettling psychological thriller giving us a suspenseful story set in the world of medicine and high-profile prescription drugs.
Emily (Rooney Mara – Girl With the Dragon Tattoo – English remake) is reunited with her husband Martin (Channing Tatum) following his release from prison. Unable to cope with the added strain placed upon her, Emily slips into a state of depression, leading her into the care of psychiatrist Dr Jonathan Banks (Jude Law), who prescribes her a concoction of medication, including the newly sanctioned anti-depressant which is suggested by Emily’s previous psychiatrist (Catherine Zeta-Jones). However, when the experimental drug results in some unexpected side effects, Emily’s life soon starts to unravel in a series of shocking events.
Side Effects starts off at first as a slow-burning and character unravel of a woman consumed by depression. Who not only becomes a victim to the medication that’s supposed to help her, but also to the companies and people supplying her with them? It then quickly transforms into an edge-of-your-seat thriller that becomes far more interested in the legal implications and various acts of deception behind Emily’s nightmare than the drugs themselves.
The switch within the tone of the movie is done with skill as that narrative defies the audience’s expectations, which in turn maintains a tireless interest from start to finish. While Burns’ preference for thrills and an all too neatly tied up ending unfortunately causes Side Effects to lose some of its edge partway through.
Side Effects is a clever, smart, and effective thriller. Director Soderbergh and writer Burns create a creative mystery that plays with the audience’s perception. The movie is beautifully shot and the score is atmospheric. Side Effects also benefits from a strong cast, giving memorable performances. Rooney Mara is exceptional in conveying the turmoil of her character, and Jude Law gives one of his best performances as the psychiatrist at the centre of the story. There is also solid supporting work from Tatum, Shaw, and especially Zones, in a surprising performance. If Side Effects really is Soderbergh’s last movie, he picked a heck of a one to go out on!
Side Effects – In cinemas February 28, 2013.