Sunday, April 07, 2013

Side Effects

Year: 2013
Director: Steven Soderbergh
Cast: Jude Law, Rooney Mara, Catherine Zeta-Jones, Channing Tatum

Plot: A psychiatrist finds himself in hot water after one of his patients, a depressed woman, commits a crime as a result of side effects from a drug he prescribed to her.

Review: Steven Soderbergh is a unique filmmaker who knows how to make a point without being over the top or flashy. You could almost say he has a somewhat quiet and subtle way of doing things.

With Side Effects, you don't really know what you're in for till you get to the second half of the film. The first half plays out like a medical drama thriller, until an abrupt left turn at  the halfway point turns it into something else. In the third act, the real plot starts to show itself and it becomes a crafty movie. It's a very clever approach on the part of Soderbergh and writer Scott Z. Burns.

To his credit, Soderbergh's film is never boring. He paces the film well, not allowing any dramatic moments to dwell too much and drag the film down. His unique camerawork and editing style also helps, which include close up shots and neat sequencing of events. Put them all together and you get a well made thriller.

Jude Law is once again awesome here as the psychiatrist Dr Banks. Law has the gift of making himself very likable no matter what role he's playing, and he not only makes a great impression of a man trying to get to the bottom of things after the shit hits the fan, but also gets us to root for him the whole time. Rooney Mara is also amazing as Emily, the depressed woman in question. Mara is very convincing playing a clinically depressed person and you can't help but feel sorry for her at times. It also helps that she is beautiful and thereby easy to like. Catherine Zeta-Jones seems to excel being the antagonist here as Emily's former psychiatrist, she has that look. Channing Tatum is alright as Emily's husband but doesn't get a lot of screen time overall.

If there is a drawback here, it would be how convenient certain things play out. I won't go into details in order to not spoil it for you, but suffice to say that I've seen quite a bit of TV dramas where things like this aren't so clear cut.

All in all, Side Effects is a solid thriller with great performances and an unpredictable plot. Recommended. (4/5)

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