Dalton’s Cinema Spot- Side Effects

Dalton's Cinema Spot- Side Effects

Dalton Valette, Opinions Editor

R, 106 minutes

Starring: Rooney Mara, Jude Law, Catherine Zeta-Jones

4/ 5 Stars

If this is in fact director Steven Soderbergh’s last feature film as he claims it is, he’s leaving with one of his best works. Side Effects centers on Emily (Mara), a young woman dealing with depression after her husband (Channing Tatum) is recently released from prison. Emily begins seeing a psychiatrist (Law) and he prescribes her the drug Ablixa to combat her depression. Ablixa works for Emily, but it does lead to some extreme side effects that could result in death.

Many people will compare this to Soderbergh’s 2011 medical thriller Contagion, which is fine in so doing, but Contagion pales in comparison with this. The plot is less convoluted and the characters, fewer and better relatable, are more developed. The script in Side Effects is excellent with plot twists around every corner, some that even really surprised me. The acting is great as well, Mara and Law both stealing the show and Mara proving that she is capable of carrying a film without the help of Daniel Craig (see The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo.) And the thing I loved most about Side Effects was the sheer amount of unpredictability. Most of the time, I had no idea what was in store for me, which kept me that much more intrigued.

The reason I gave this four out of five stars is, like the majority of Soderbergh films, there is a pacing problem. The intensity, very clearly seen in Contagion, varies from extremely nail biting intense to long bouts of near slosh actually. The roller coaster of intensity is a tad irritating which is why I gave this film four. Other than the pacing problems, which I overall was expecting from this, this is a  taut thriller that shouldn’t be missed and this may go down as one of (if not the) best Soderbergh films.