Contagion Review

Posted: February 2, 2012

Contagion spreads only disappointment

Anna Scholl, Talon Staff Writer

One of the reasons people go to the cinema is to play with their fears. Horror movies are normally the main suspect for these euphoric moments of scare tactics, but what the movie industry has recently forgotten about is disaster films; films that take real life possibilities and play with them in a fictional world where we have at least one character facing a tragedy and surviving it through courageous acts. One of the most recent movies recently released under the idea of this genre is Contagion, a film about disease and the spread of it across the world. But here’s the catch – unlike its marketing ploy, Contagion did not deliver what it guaranteed. The audience was promised a thriller, and what they got was an hour-and-a-half of doctors solving a problem. Contagion was released on DVD on January 3rd, but is anyone bringing home the disappointment it brought to theatres?

In the beginning, there is somewhat of a plot. A sick woman dies for unknown reasons, and her family is left to wonder what could’ve caused her death.

After this introduction, the movie is nothing but the story of how many medical researchers and teams decide to fight this new disease, while also jumping into the lives of a Minnesotan family in an attempt to bring up some kind of emotional depth.

One thing should be understood about this movie – it wasn’t bad, just disappointing. The acting is good, the idea is good, but the entire premise is something that anyone can watch for free on a TV Documentary. How a disease spreads and how doctors come into terms of finding cures for it is information I would rather learn in my fifth period health class, not a ten dollar movie.

Many people thought that Contagion was going to be a thriller about a group of people trying to find a way to fight off a disease, something that many people fear, but instead, we got plot holes and no characters to cheer for.

Amongst the poor elements put into Contagion, there are some redeeming qualities to be found. The cinematography is unique and portrays a sickly feel in the camera movements. The film at some points even made me feel (and I know I wasn’t the only one) sick and self-conscious about touching any object without drenching my hands with a glob of hand sanitizer afterward. The movie touches on something not many people think about – how easy it is to infect oneself through physical touch. But instead of taking this idea and scripting a more well-defined film meant to purge the viewer’s thoughts about the intensity of an epidemic, the movie moves at a slow pace and doesn’t give any of the characters a chance to define themselves. The numerous plot lines jumped around too much, and there were points in time where I thought, “Is that it?”

While I respect the idea of the movie, the way it was advertised lead to the movie’s downfall. That, and the movie wasn’t constant. It couldn’t decide which character was the lead, which plot line actually contributed to the big picture, or whether it could actually please its audience. Contagion dissatisfies those who expected a thriller, but excites those who wished to be educated on the anatomy of dealing with an epidemic.

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